mental illness

noun
variants: or mental disorder or less commonly mental disease

Definition of mental illness

: any of a broad range of medical conditions (such as major depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, or panic disorder) that are marked primarily by sufficient disorganization of personality, mind, or emotions to impair normal psychological functioning and cause marked distress or disability and that are typically associated with a disruption in normal thinking, feeling, mood, behavior, interpersonal interactions, or daily functioning

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from mental illness

mentally ill adjective

Examples of mental illness in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But Ivy League schools have been criticized for being exclusionary to students with mental illness or students of color. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "The College Cheating Scandal Revealed How Obsessed We Are with University Prestige, But What’s It Really Worth?," 14 Mar. 2019 As if that’s not enough to set off your B.S. meter, it’s even being touted as a treatment for addiction and mental illness. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Surprise: Celery Juice Will Not Cure All of Your Health Issues," 25 Jan. 2019 Writing for the Daily Mail, Middleton shared his experiences with mental illness and how getting help changed the course of his life. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Kate Middleton's Brother, James, Opens Up About His Struggles With Depression in an Emotional New Essay," 12 Jan. 2019 Soon, the mental illness and violence that follow cannabis use also may be too widespread to ignore. Alex Berenson, WSJ, "Marijuana Is More Dangerous Than You Think," 4 Jan. 2019 Pantuso hopes for more funding and to change people's minds about mental illness. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Stigma of suicide: Mom of teen found by former Wauwatosa alderman speaks out," 27 June 2018 Talking about suicide and specifically about mental illness helps decrease stigma. Gracie Bonds Staples, chicagotribune.com, "Are suicides really preventable? The statistics aren't encouraging," 20 June 2018 The new project includes lyrics about the musician's mental illness. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "Kim Kardashian West on Kanye revealing their marital drama," 5 June 2018 No — Jerry Lee Amie, Los Angeles, 1970, and police made up that story about mental illness. Paul Thornton, latimes.com, "After Stephon Clark, will good cops finally have had enough?," 7 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mental illness.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of mental illness

1724, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mental illness

Share mental illness

Statistics for mental illness

Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mental illness

The first known use of mental illness was in 1724

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mental illness

mental illness

noun
variants: or mental disorder also mental disease

Medical Definition of mental illness

: any of a broad range of medical conditions (such as major depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, or panic disorder) that are marked primarily by sufficient disorganization of personality, mind, or emotions to impair normal psychological functioning and cause marked distress or disability and that are typically associated with a disruption in normal thinking, feeling, mood, behavior, interpersonal interactions, or daily functioning Some homeless families are also hindered by substance abuse and mental illness.— Ellen L. Bassuk, Scientific American, December 1991 Catatonia is usually an expression of mental disorders like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, but it could also come from other medical problems, such as a brain tumor.— Forrest Wickman, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 31 May 2012 mental diseases such as schizophrenia and manic depression may either involve more than one gene or may result from a complex mix of genetic predisposition and environmental rotten luck.— Natalie Angier, The New York Times Book Review, 12 Aug. 1990

Other Words from mental illness

mentally ill adjective
mentally ill patients Mental health workers … perform a wide variety of therapeutic, supportive, and preventative functions for persons who are mentally ill and developmentally disabled. — Barbara M. Swanson, Careers in Health Care, 1989

mental illness

noun
mental ill·​ness

Legal Definition of mental illness

2 : a mental condition marked primarily by sufficient disorganization of personality, mind, and emotions to seriously impair the normal psychological and often social functioning of the individual

called also mental disorder

More from Merriam-Webster on mental illness

Britannica English: Translation of mental illness for Arabic Speakers

Comments on mental illness

What made you want to look up mental illness? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the way words of a language are spelled

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!