CPR First Aid

What Causes Mental Health Issues?

What Causes Mental Health Issues

The Government of Western Australia’s Mental Health Commission states that genetic predisposition, homelessness, unemployment, alcohol, discrimination, and other risk factors may cause mental health issues. The government agency explains that it is difficult to pinpoint an exact reason because interactions between the mind, body, and environment may contribute to a condition. Such factors may lead to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorder, eating disorder, or psychosis. Unfortunately, mental health statistics show that many Australians suffer from different types of illnesses. It is why the government urges anyone to seek help, learn about first aid, and take advantage of the mental health treatment plan. Additional information on these is found below.

What Causes Mental Health Issues?

The following factors may contribute to the development of a mental health issue.

Factors contributing to mental health issues may include genetics, environment, life experiences, and brain chemistry.

Genetic Predisposition 

A news article from the USA’s National Institutes of Health entitled Common Genetic Factors Found in 5 Mental Disorders mentions a few research. Results found a link between genetic roots and mental disorders. It also states that scientists have been recognising how psychiatric disorders tend to run in families.

Homelessness and Unemployment

The UK’s Health Foundation’s publication about Unemployment and Mental Health states that the relationship between the two is bi-directional. Good mental health positively impacts job performance and staying in a position. Homelessness and unemployment affect mental health through stress, depression, anxiety, and lower self-esteem which may make it difficult for someone to land a job—the same publication’s figures for unemployment and poor mental health during the pandemic support this. 

Alcohol and Other Drug Use

According to Western Australia’s Think Mental Health website, those who suffer from mental health illness are likely to use alcohol and other drugs and vice versa. The same resource explains that many use these alternatives as temporary solutions to stress and sadness. Alcohol and drugs also contain substances that negatively affect thoughts and feelings. 

Discrimination and Racial Injustice

The BMC Public Health has a research article entitled Mental health impacts of racial discrimination in Australian culturally and linguistically diverse communities: a cross-sectional survey. The researchers conclude that there is an association between racial discrimination and worse mental health. People who suffered this in shops and government settings had high or very high psychological distress. So, the study suggests having interventions to minimise the occurrence of racism to improve mental health.

Family Conflict or Family Disorganisation 

The USA’s National Library of Medicine has an article about Family Background Issues as Predictors of Mental Health Problems for University Students. It states that a few studies have found how family conflicts and other factors of poor family environments disable students from receiving emotional support. It also makes it difficult for kids to express their emotions which later on turn into a mental health problem.

Stressful Life Events

The same US-based website published a study for the Association of Stressful Life Events with Psychological Problems. It concludes that stressful life events have a direct association with components of psychological problems. It identifies common personal stressors which are home life, education, loss and separation, sexual life, and health concerns.

Personal Attributes

HelpGuide, a mental health website, explains discusses Personality Types, Traits, and How it Affects Mental Health. It states that researchers identify vulnerable personalities who are more likely to feel stressed, socially withdraw, or use unhealthy coping mechanisms. There are also more resilient personality types that can easily ask for social support.  

Physical Health

Mind, a UK-based organisation, identifies physical health as one of the causes of mental health issues. For example, a head injury or neurological condition may affect someone’s mood and behaviour. So, it’s important to rule these out before seeking professional help. 

Physical Activity Levels

Better Health Channel, a website of the Victorian Government, explains that aside from improving physical health, exercise also boosts mental health. Multiple research found that those who exercise regularly have better overall well-being and lower rates of mental illness.

Social Support and Inclusion

The website of the Mental Health Australia organisation has a file about Social Inclusion & Participation. One of its discussions is how social inclusion enhances the life experiences of people living with mental illness. So, it encourages people to engage with the broader community – business, sports, clubs, neighbourhoods, schools, and hospitals where everyone may contribute, belong, and be valued.

Strong Cultural Identity and Pride

The Headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation has a topic about Cultural identity and Mental health and Wellbeing. According to them, your cultural identity may influence your sense of belonging, fitting in, your values, and your views. Since there are different cultures, there are also different ways of understanding and explaining mental health and wellbeing. So, if you are having a tough time, it’s important to seek help no matter where you come from or where you grew up. 

What are the Common Mental Health Problems?

Below are the types of mental health issues and illnesses according to the Better Health Channel.

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Behavioural and emotional disorders in children
  • Bipolar affective disorder
  • Depression
  • Dissociation and dissociative disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Paranoia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Psychosis
  • Affective disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance use disorder

A few of these are more prevalent in Australia.

Types of mental health issues: depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, PTSD.

What is the Mental Health Statistics in Australia?

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reveals that the following are most common in Australia in its 2020-2022 statistics. 

  • Anxiety disorders (3.4 million people, or 17% of the population) 
  • Affective disorders (1.5 million, or 8%)
  • Substance Use disorders (650,000, or 3%) 

The application of first aid may be possible if there is an identification of the symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of Mental Health Issues?

Healthdirect, the national health information service, lists the following signs and symptoms of a mental health illness.

  • Anxiety or worrying
  • Feeling unhappy
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight or appetite changes
  • Being more quiet than usual
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts

If you or someone else is experiencing any of these, remember that it’s important and acceptable to seek help or apply mental health first aid.

Where to Seek Help for Mental Health Issues?

The Australian government offers a mental health plan that involves an initial consultation with a GP, seeing a social worker, taking medicines, and speaking with a psychiatrist.

What is the Mental Health First Aid?

Mental health first aid involves knowing the signs, approaching the person, being supportive, knowing what’s not helpful, and encouraging seeking help. Mental health first aid kits and training may help you perform these steps properly. 

Mental health first aid: spot signs, offer support, avoid unhelpful actions, encourage seeking help. Kits and training can assist.


There are many causes of mental health issues such as genetics, unemployment, alcohol, drugs, discrimination, family conflict, and others. Such factors may contribute to the development of mental health illnesses including anxiety disorders, affective disorders, and substance use disorders which are prevalent in Australia. It’s important to be aware of the symptoms so the application of first aid and further treatment may be done. The government’s mental health plan, mental health first aid kits, and training may be able to help.



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