What affects our mental health

Life affects us all differently. We all go through difficult times, and negative emotions can be a healthy reaction to the challenges we face. But for many of us, things can become more serious, and each year as many as 1 in 4 of us experiences a mental health problem.
Being aware of what can affect our mental health can make it easier to understand when we, or someone we care about, are struggling, and helps us think about what we can do to improve things or where to get support.

Things that affect our mental health include our:

  • upbringing and environment, which shapes our brain development when young and opportunities throughout life
  • experiences, like our relationships, how we are treated, our financial situation, work, where we live, physical health, life events and the changes we go through
  • genes and temperament, which may make some of us more likely to develop certain kinds of mental health problems when combined with our life experiences

All of these influence how we think about, make sense of and respond to challenges and opportunities in life.

How we think about ourselves, the people and the world around us and the future, is a result of the things that happen to us. But it also has profound implications for our mental health.

There are many situations or life events that can affect us and make us feel distressed or less able to cope. We all respond to life's challenges differently – there's no single "right way" to react.

It may be everyday events, one-off experiences or several things building up. Even experiences that are positive can be difficult to cope with sometimes.

How we feel is often a completely natural reaction to challenges. But for some of us, these feelings can become more difficult to manage, especially if they do not go away – after a while, what we're experiencing affects our daily life.

Things that affect our mental wellbeing include:

  • personal life and relationships
  • money, work or housing
  • life changes
  • health issues
  • traumatic life events
  • smoking, alcohol, gambling and drug misuse
Some of us are more deeply affected by events than others. How we deal with things can also depend on how well other parts of our life are going or how well supported we feel.

There are lots of things you can do and help is available - I am a phone call away.

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