Does mental illness run in families?
Sometimes there are a few people in a family who have the same mental illness. Other times only one person in the family has a mental illness. This section looks at whether mental illness runs in families.
- Some research suggests that mental illness can run in families.
- We do not fully understand what causes mental illness, or why it can be passed on in family members.
- Mental illness may be passed on for different reasons, not just genes.
- Even though mental illness may run in families, having a family member with a mental illness doesn’t mean that you or a family member is going to become unwell.
- There are things you can do to look after your mental health if you are worried about mental illness in your family.
This section covers:
- Will mental illness run in my family?
- What causes mental illness to run in families?
- What should I consider if I want to start a family?
- What can I do to reduce my risk of developing a mental illness?
These pages are created by Rethink Mental Illness' Advice and Information Service in accordance with the Information Standard. Last reviewed in September 2017. Next review September 2020.
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