(HealthDay News) -- More than 43 million American adults, 18 percent of the U.S. population, had a mental disorder in the past year, the most recent surveys cited by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) show.
These disorders -- characterized by significant changes in mood, thoughts or behavior -- often make carrying out daily activities more difficult and impair relationships with family and friends.
If you or a loved one has a mental disorder, the agency suggests:
Don't blame yourself or the person with the disorder. It's not an "attitude problem," but a medical condition.
Listen to the person carefully, but don't judge him or her.
Ask gently if you can make an appointment to see a health professional. The affected person may not be able to do this.
As worried as you may be about the affected person, avoid the temptation to argue or convince the person of a problem.
Take the person to the emergency room if he or she voices a desire to commit suicide.