Descriptions of Issues

The term “mental illness” coves a wide variety of disorders, from schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and self-harm to substance misuse. These disorders can be the outcome of experiences in a person’s life, from early childhood to late life events.

Some Examples of Contributors to Mental Illness:

  • Early life losses or traumas (such as the death of a parent in childhood, or being abused or neglected)
  • Loss of social support (death of a loved one, divorce, moving away from friends and family, inability to remain active in social groups, lack of community involvement)
  • Unhealthy social conditions (poverty, homelessness, community violence, communal living with distressed people)
  • Experiences that undermine self-confidence (such as changes in appearance, health or functional abilities resulting in doubt, fear, uncertainty or self-consciousness
  • Learned helplessness and negative thought patterns (chronic or isolation, grief, negative thought patterns leading to the belief of helplessness, reinforces by lack of

Some Examples of Physical Contributors and Mental Illness:

  • Chronic illness (such as heart disease, stroke, HIV, Parkinson’s, cancer, or diabetes) that seriously restrict activity
  • Sensory deficits (such as low vision or hearing loss — especially when glasses or hearing aids are neglected)
  • Side-effects of medications including some prescription medications and over the counter medications)
  • Hormonal changes (affecting mood, energy levels, and behavior)
  • Substance misuse (alcohol and many commonly prescribed drugs have sedating effects, and the social and personal consequences of abusing these substances can contribute to mental illness and addiction problems.)
  • Genetic causes: (people with any family history of mental illness have a slightly higher risk of suffering from a mental health disorder.)
  • Biochemical causes (an imbalance in the chemistry of neurotransmitters such as serotonin causes changes in brain functioning that influence mental health)