Understanding Mental Health Difficulties

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Mental health problems can cause people to think, act and feel differently than they usually do. For a person going through these difficulties, the different feelings are very real and often scary. Mental health problems are common in at least one out of every five people. In most cases, they are manageable, and with the right kind of help, most people who experience these difficulties are able to live happy and successful lives.

What causes mental health problems? Mental health issues can affect people from any religion, culture, economic background or nationality. A number of factors are associated with mental health difficulties. Some of these factors include:

  • Family history. Most illnesses, both mental and physical, have a genetic component. This means that if a person has a mental health difficulty, his or her relatives may be at higher risk for a mental health problem or have already experienced such a problem.
  • Drug use. Research shows that use of drugs can be associated with mental health problems. For example, studies have linked some common serious mental disorders with chronic drug abuse.
If you want to learn more, check out some different types of mental health problems

Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times. 

Dear Auntie, I want to go seek help from a councilor/therapist, but I don’t know how to tell my parents without worrying them. What do I do?