Mental health problems can have a wide range of causes. In most cases, no one is sure precisely what the cause of a particular problem is. We can often point to things that trigger a period of poor mental health but some people tend to be more deeply affected by these things than others.
The following factors could potentially trigger a period of poor mental health:
- childhood abuse, trauma, violence or neglect
- social isolation, loneliness or discrimination
- the death of someone close to you
- homelessness or poor housing
- social disadvantage, poverty or debt
- caring for a family member or friend
- a long-term physical health condition
- significant trauma as an adult, such as military combat, being involved in a serious accident or being the victim of a violent crime
- physical causes – for example, a head injury or a condition such as epilepsy can have an impact on behaviour and mood (it is important to rule out causes such as this before seeking further treatment for a mental health problem)
- genetic factors – there are genes that cause physical illnesses, so there may be genes that play a role in the development of mental health problems.