A resource to support good mental health and wellbeing for the people of Qatar
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Risk Factors

Research states that, like heart disease, diabetes and other physical illnesses, mental illness is complex and can result from a combination of genetic, environmental, psychological, and social factors. Everyone is different. 

It is important to note that we cannot always identify the cause of illness or change circumstances that may be contributing to the symptoms. However, the most important thing is to recognize the signs and symptoms and seek professional advice and support.


What are the risk factors? 

Mental illnesses are thought to be caused by a range of factors including:


  • Facto​rs Related to Physical Illness or Injury
  • Poor mental health can be both a cause and consequence of chronic physical illness or injury. For example, depression can be a side effect of other chronic physical health conditions and their associated medications. Those affected by diabetes, cancer, stroke, thyroid problems and neurological diseases can be more susceptible to developing mental illness, particularly depression and anxiety. Changes in  some chemicals in the brain can take place as the result of a traumatic brain injury, such as from a car accident.  

  • Psychological Factors
  • ​Som​e people seem to be more vulnerable than others to developing mental health conditions. For example, people who worry a lot, have low self-esteem, are perfectionists, are sensitive to personal criticism, are self-critical or have negative approach to life are more likely to be affected. This is often linked to their early life experiences.
    Traumatic life events or challenging circumstances can ​contribute to the onset of mental illness.
  • Environmental and Social Factors

    Exposure to environmental stressors and poor conditions can increase the risk of the onset of mental illness including:

    • Pov​erty or low social status
    • Isolation
    • Discrimination
    • Adjusting to a new living environment or culture
    • Dangerous work conditions
    • Living in a polluted or hostile environment
    • Stressful or under-stimulating work environment
    • Unsupportive family or work environment

"… I moved every two years to different cities… this constant change increased my anxiety, which then lead to me feeling very socially isolated"

"Seeking help early can help reduce the severity of the illness or prevent the onset of a major mental illness." ​​​​​