When the federal government released an important compendium of mental health data this week, the headlines proclaimed that 1 in 5 Americans over 18 had a diagnosable mental illness in the past year, and 1 in 20 had a “serious mental illness.”
But what does “serious mental illness” mean, anyway, and what are its connotations and implications when it comes to treatment? It’s a question worth asking, because it’s used differently in different contexts.
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