Learn More We all experience emotional ups and downs from time to time caused by events in our lives. Mental health conditions go beyond these emotional reactions and become something longer lasting. They are medical conditions that cause changes in how we think and feel and in our mood. They are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing. With proper treatment, people can realize their full potential, cope with the stresses of life, work productively and make meaningful contributions to the world. Without mental health we cannot be fully healthy. But understanding mental health isn't only about being able to identify symptoms and having a name for these conditions. There is a complicated ecosystem involving local communities, the federal government, research institutions, private companies and other pieces that are all trying to fit together. Each piece contributes to our understanding of mental health—if one is missing, the picture isn't complete.