There was an interesting article in today's "Body and Soul" section of the Times (London) about a writer named Clare Allan, who used her writing as a help in recovering from mental illness. She says: "Writing helped me recover. You need a purpose in life and for me that was crucial."
It has also changed her attitude toward the distressing times she had: "You can be having the worst experience in your life and a bit of you is thinking, 'Ooh, that'll be a good story.'"
Her first book, "Poppy Shakespeare," is based partly on her experiences, and is published by Bloomsbury on April 3, but writing that never gets published can still be a great outlet. There's something about putting down your experiences, whether as a journal or transformed into fiction, that allows you to take a healthy step back from them.
Even if getting published is not one of your goals, it may still be a good idea to start writing.