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Symptoms and Diagnoses


Dr. Jerman
Interpersonal problems are often the reason people seek mental health assistance. Mr. Willis, what can you tell us about mental health diagnoses as they relate to interpersonal problems?

Mr. Willis
Well, Dr. Jerman, an interpersonal problem can cause or contribute to a mental health disorder. In other cases, a mental health disorder may itself contribute to interpersonal problems. Understanding how a mental health disorder and interpersonal problems are related can help providers determine the most effective treatment.

Family issues are one of the more common reasons people seek help from a mental health provider. Some examples of family issues include:

  • Parent-child relational problems
  • Sibling relational problems
  • Upbringing away from parents
  • Child affected by parental relationship distress
  • Relationship distress with a spouse
  • Disruption of family by separation or divorce
  • Death of a family member, and
  • Child neglect or abuse

Challenges with relationships at work or school may also be reasons people seek mental health services. Specific reasons can include:

  • Discord with a boss, supervisor, coworkers, or others in the work environment
  • Sexual harassment on the job
  • Hostile work environment
  • Social exclusion or rejection
  • Being the target of perceived discrimination or persecution
  • Discord with teachers, school staff, or other students, and
  • Bullying

Intimate partner and sexual issues may also be addressed by a mental health provider. These issues can include:

  • Spouse or partner violence or abuse
  • Spouse or partner neglect, and
  • Issues related to sexual behavior, orientation, attitudes, or enjoyment