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. It's likely that for many people there is a combination of factors, although some people may be more deeply affected by certain things than others.
The following factors could potentially trigger a period of poor mental health:
- childhood abuse, trauma, or neglect
- social isolation or loneliness
- experiencing discrimination and stigma
- the death of someone close to you
- severe or long-term stress
- unemployment or losing your job
- social disadvantage, poverty or debt
- homelessness or poor housing
- caring for a family member or friend
- a long-term physical health condition
- drug and alcohol misuse
- domestic violence or other abuse as an adult
- 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 – researchers are currently investigating whether there might be a genetic cause of various mental health problems but there is no clear proof yet.
My depression seems to flare up during times when I am stressed and isolated from other people.
This information was published in December 2015. We will revise it in 2018.