Does mental illness run in families? - What can I do to reduce my risk of developing a mental illness?
What can I do to reduce my risk of developing a mental illness?
Mental illness may run in families but it doesn’t mean you or someone in your family will develop one. However, if you have a family history of mental illness it can still help to take good care of your mental health. There are things you can do to look after your mental health. Below are some steps you can take.
Having a healthy diet
Eating a healthy balanced diet is good for your mental and physical health. If you have a limited diet or eat a lot of unhealthy food it can make your mental health worse. It can help make you less likely to become unwell and help you stay at a healthy body weight. Some mental illnesses can get worse if you don’t have certain nutrients in your diet. One example is that a low level of vitamin B is linked to depression.
Getting regular exercise
Moderate exercise can help to improve your mood and how you feel generally. It can also help you to feel better about yourself.
Getting enough sleep
Problems with sleep can affect how you feel physically and mentally. In turn, how you feel can also affect how you sleep. If you regularly have problems sleeping, then you could tell your GP.
Talking to someone about your problems
Talking to people about any problems you have can be useful. There are a different ways that you can offload or chat to someone about how you’re feeling. Some services offer telephone, email or instant messaging chat. Some of these are listed in the ‘Useful Contacts’ page of this section.
Try not to get too stressed. A lot of things in life can cause stress which can impact on mental health. Sometimes stress cannot be avoided. You may be able to limit the effects of stress.
Using alcohol or drugs can trigger mental illness in some people. It can also cause further problems with getting the right treatment if you do become unwell. If you find you use alcohol or drugs to deal with your problems or stress, then you could try some of the options above.
If you are worried that you have signs of mental illness, you could speak to your GP about this.
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