One in five people suffer from emotional problems sufficiently distressing to justify seeking professional help. Their symptoms can range from relatively mild feelings of depression and anxiety to severe distress and dysfunction which threatens life itself. Unfortunately, many people with mental illnesses and emotional problems fail to seek the professional help that they need. Scientific, medical and social research is enabling a better understanding of the nature and cause of psychiatric illnesses and symptoms, and improved ways of diagnosing and treating them are constantly being developed. Psychiatrists are at the forefront of this exciting phase of research and development and are thus able to offer the best available diagnostic and treatment approaches.