What are Some Factors that can Contribute to Mental Health Problems?

Mental illness has been an issue for as long as physical health has been, but it hasn’t always been as widely discussed as physical illness— until now. One of the biggest factors that can contribute to a person developing a mental illness is having a family history of mental illness. For example, someone with a history of depression in their family may be at a higher risk of developing depression later on, but they also may not. However, family history isn’t the only factor that can contribute to mental health problems.

#1: Major Life Changes

Everyone eventually goes through a major life change. Some are able to deal with certain life changes better than others, and those that struggle to deal with these changes can develop mental illness.


The loss of a loved one can cause both temporary and lingering feelings of depression. Everyone experiences and processes the emotions associated with bereavement (grief, anger, confusion, etc.) differently, which may be the reason why some experience mental health issues.


Divorce is another loss that many people grieve. Like death, divorce stirs up a variety of emotions that are processed differently by everyone. It can bring grief, stress, and anger, as it is a process and not usually something that happens very quickly.

Job Changes

Changes associated with work, whether it’s a new job, a career change, or loss of a job, can bring stress. Work environment and conditions have been known to have an affect on mental health, so it’s important to make sure that work culture takes mental health into consideration.


Moving is also a very stressful event, and can even feel like a loss— depending on the reason for moving. If the move was more of a last resort or forced, then negative emotional feelings can be triggered.

#2: Physical Health Conditions and Extreme Stress

Those suffering from chronic physical health conditions (asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.) are at an increased risk of developing a mental illness, which is also a chronic condition. For example, those suffering from asthma may also be at risk for developing anxiety. Extreme stress (caused by a variety of things) can also trigger a mental illness. Stress can also trigger various physical illnesses, which in turn, can trigger mental illness.

#3: Social Isolation

People need other people for socialization, so isolation from others can contribute to mental health issues. An example would be depression in the elderly. This age group isn’t one that most people think of when they think about which age group experiences depression the most. However, older individuals— especially if their spouse and/or friends have passed away— are likely to become isolated (both intentionally and unintentionally), and they’re at a higher risk of developing depression.

#4: Traumatic Events

Traumatic events can cause a variety of mental health issues, but most commonly lead to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). However, not everyone develops PTSD after a traumatic event.

Abuse, Neglect, and Trauma

Abuse (emotional, physical, sexual, verbal, etc.), neglect and overall trauma can lead to certain mental health problems. This is especially true when experienced at a young age, but can also be just as traumatic at an older age. Traumatic events like these can cause behavior problems in children and PTSD in adults. Victims of abuse should seek help from both medical professionals and abuse lawyers: https://www.rosenfeldinjurylawyers.com/sexual-abuse.html

Severe Weather

Severe weather can be another example of a traumatic event, especially when it causes extensive damage to homes and other structures. Examples of extreme weather (and forces of nature) includes:

  • Winter storms/blizzards
  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Flooding
  • Earthquakes/tsunamis

These events can be especially traumatizing if one has never experienced them before, or if they’re more severe than usual.


Experiencing war firsthand, whether you’re a soldier or a civilian can lead to mental health issues. This is most often seen in soldiers, who often develop PTSD after serving in the military— especially if they were deployed overseas during their service.

There are a number of different things that can happen in one’s life that can trigger mental health problems, including their own genetics. This is why it’s important to know your family history and to take care of your mental health like you do your physical health. Engage in self-care activities such as exercising and eating right, but it’s also a good idea to talk with a therapist occasionally— even if you’re not experiencing any mental health issues.