What exactly is mental illness? Who does it affect? Mental illness can be scary and intimidating when taken in context of the way it is presented in the media and in movies. Really, “mental illness” is a term given to a group of brain disorders that can affect thinking, feeling, moods, ability to relate to others and capacity for coping with the demands of life. Brain Disorders can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income, and are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing. Mental illness is treatable and recovery is possible. Most people with serious mental illness need medication to help control symptoms, just like people with diabetes depend on insulin to function. They also may rely on supportive counseling, self-help groups, case management, psychosocial rehabilitation, assistance with housing, vocational rehabilitation, and other community services in order to achieve their highest level of recovery.