See you being asked to describe what depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Bi Polar Disorder is. What would you say "mental health problems", or similar? The average person would say the same thing, since there is a common belief that these problems are purely based on the mind. There is still something of an attitude that people with mental health and anxiety problems should be able to "snap out of it" or get over it, just like that. However many mental problems can be linked to a physical situation of the person.
One example of this is the much misused term, clinical depression; depression is now used to describe someone felling a bit low. Full clinical depression is now used to describe someone who experiences long periods of horrifying low moods, low motivation and a general feeling of emptiness. It is a cruel illness, which is described as being entirely mental and as such the sufferer is the recipient of the words, "pull yourself out of it!"
Depression has a physical cause. Depression is a direct result of a lower-than average degree of serotonin in the body. The "feel good" hormone serotonin is responsible for the mood, personality and feelings of a person.If serotonin levels are low, the individual will experience depressive, low thoughts. It is a physical problem with a mental outcome, correcting the serotonin levels through the use of anti-depressants has had a better than average success rate.
Furthermore those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder have been found to have enlarged lobes to the front of the brain in preliminary scans. Our worry and anxiety mechanism is controlled by these lobes, which when enlarged puts our anxiety in overdrive-resulting in what is termed OCD.
So these mental illnesses are, more often than not, physical in basis after all - and one can no more "shake off" or "get over" a hormone imbalance than one can "shake off" a broken leg!