What Causes Mental Illness?

There is no single cause for mental illness. A person may experience a mental illness because of many factors, including:

Genetics: Mental illness may be passed down genetically (ex. from a parent or grandparent to a child). Having a family member with mental illness does NOT mean you will have the illness too, but you may be more likely to develop a mental illness than someone who does not have the same genetic link.
*Definition provided by kidshealth.org.

Brain Chemistry: Our brains are made up of billions of neurons, which communicate with each other through chemicals. Mental illness may occur if there is an imbalance in those chemicals.

Life experiences (environmental factors): These can include but are not limited to:

  • Negative family or social circle experiences;
  • Child abuse and neglect;
  • Family violence or other violence;
  • Sexual abuse;
  • Lack of support from important relationships;
  • Severe or ongoing stress;
  • Major life changes;
  • Any kind of traumatic event or experience.
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