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Home » Child/Adolescent Mental Health » Causes of Mental Health Problems

Causes of Mental Health Problems

Biological Factors
  • Genetics are believed to play a role in mental health as mental illness is more common in people whose biological relatives also have a mental illness.
  • Many other factors can significantly alter the structure and functioning of the brain, which can, in turn impact the mental health of affected children and adolescents.  Some of these factors include: trauma, brain injuries, certain infections, disruptions in fetal brain development, exposure to substances and/or toxins and endocrine, immune and neurotransmitter functioning. 

Psychological Factors (Cognitive)

  • Examples of psychological factors that can contribute to problems with mental health include such things as poor coping skills or negative patterns in thinking.

Social Factors (Environmental)

  • Certain stressors or challenging situations, such as the loss of a loved one through death or divorce, an unsafe home or community, poverty, frequent changing of schools or homes, and abuse or neglect can contribute to mental illness and mental health related problems.

With much still to be learned about mental health in children, one thing that is known for sure is that mental illness does not discriminate.  Children who have mental health related problems come from families from all walks of life — all races, religions, cultures, economic groups, parenting styles, family compositions, and levels of education.  However, there are risk factors that may increase, and protective factors that may reduce the likelihood of the development of mental health disorders.