Serious mental illness

SMI is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disturbance that causes considerable functional impairment and significantly limits or interferes with one or more important living activities.

What Has Changed in the Definition of Serious Mental Illness?

It's sometimes difficult to tell the difference between serious mental illness (SMI) and other mental health issues. Several national initiatives to define SMI arrived at similar results and estimated the number of persons affected by SMI.

When the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) was founded in the early 1990s, it had to define serious mental disease.

They needed to do this in order to allocate mental health block funding based on the number of SMI cases in each state. They defined SMI as mental diseases that "resulted in functional impairment that seriously interferes with or limits one or more major living activities," as defined by the DSM. CMHS had to define "functional impairment" in order to figure out how many adults in each state had SMI. "90 percent [of people meeting the criteria for significant mental illness] either have a severe disorder like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, or a disorder and work impairment, or a disorder and report being suicidal," CMHS stated after doing so.

According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), serious mental illness (SMI) affects 4.4 percent of the population over the age of 18.2 years.

In 1993, another attempt was made to identify serious mental illness and assess the number of people affected. The Senate Appropriations Committee requested a report from the National Advisory Mental Health Council on the expense of providing insurance coverage for persons with "serious mental illness" on par with other ailments. 3 It stated that "severe mental illness" is defined by diagnosis, disability, and duration, and that it includes psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, manic depressive disorder, and autism, as well as severe forms of other disorders like major depression, panic disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. They calculated that 3% of adults suffer from severe mental illness using this criterion. This figure is similar to what CMHS and NIMH discovered.

A provision from the 1992 Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act led to the government classification of serious mental illness.

The US Department of Health and Human Services came up with this definition (HHS). It was designed to assist states in estimating the incidence and prevalence of SMI when they applied for grant monies to improve mental health services. After consumers and advocates complained that the phrase "chronic mental illness" had negative connotations, the federal government stopped using it. They interpreted it as implying that certain types of mental disease are incurable. As a result, the term "chronic mental illness" was renamed "severe and persistent mental illness," then "serious mental illness."

What Does It Mean to Have a Serious Mental Illness?

The following are examples of serious mental illness (SMI):

  • Schizophrenia

  • "Severe, major depression" is a subtype of major depression.

  • "Severe" bipolar disorder is a subgroup of the condition.

  • A few other conditions

Some terms used in the context of SMI are interchangeable:

  • Affective disorders are often known as mood disorders.

  • Manic–depressive disorder/manic depression is a kind of bipolar disorder.

  • Major depressive disorders (major depression) are a type of depression that affects a large number of

Other terminologies that are frequently used as part of broader categories of mental health issues are useful to be aware of. These are frequently mentioned in relation to SMI:

  • Depressive and bipolar disorders are examples of mood disorders.

  • Anxiety disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder,

  • Schizophrenia, delusional disorder, and schizoaffective disorder are examples of psychotic disorders.