• Apologies for the issue with a bizarre redirect on the site earlier today. There was a large server update and an error in an IP address had the traffic routing wrongly. No hacking or anything nefarious and nothing to worry about. Sorry for any stress/anxiety caused. Very best wishes - SF Admin

Mental Health Genetics


Jay Jay from the UK
Staff Alumni
So a thought has occurred to me,

if we suffer from mental health is it something we are actually born with or is a development of some kind of trauma in our life's?

was we passed a genetic gene from our father or mother to carry a mental illness?? do your parents suffer from mental health?

if this is the case and it is genetic how many of us are worried that our children can develop such symptoms of mental health and end up with mental health issues of their own??

I would love to have the conversation with my mum but i know it wouldn't end well so I avoid that as I avoid conflict.


Jay Jay from the UK
Staff Alumni
Mental illnesses, in general, are thought to be caused by a variety of genetic and environmental factors: Inherited traits. Mental illness is more common in people whose blood relatives also have a mental illness.
Well @Jayjay289, I know that for me it's probably nature and nurture. Anxiety runs in my family (on the fraternal side). My grandmother went through a period where she didn't leave her house for several years and I have a cousin also who suffers with anxiety. So genetics definitely plays a part for me, though for my BPD I think it's mostly environmental. I will be interested to see what other posters have to say.


SF Supporter
You can find scholarly articles both for and against the idea that mental health issues can be carried in the genomes. They're still not positive on it from what I've read. I think we're at the point where statistically people who have families with issues will have issues themselves, but also got to remember that it could be environmental, not just household, like country and society etc as well. I think also it depends on the illness.

It's a super interesting topic though (and genetics in general), I got to spend some time in a lab photographing DNA cells and stuffs for physical illnesses.


To Wish Impossible Things
Safety & Support
SF Supporter
My grandfather spent time in and out of hospital (or an asylum as they called it back then). My mother won't talk about it, it's a taboo subject within the family. I never met him, he died quite young but from the little bits I've managed to pick up my guess would be schizophrenia.

My mother was one of five children and all her siblings have at least three children - I have 14 cousins and most of them have at least three children but as far as I'm aware I'm the only one to have developed anything more than the odd bout of mild depression so that would sort of go against the genetic idea.

However my son had severe depression in his mid to late teens. He still has occasional down periods but not too bad but the anxiety has remained. I don't think I'll ever stop worrying about him and I do wonder if I've either passed it down to him.


Sim Addict
Safety & Support
SF Author
SF Supporter
It's an interesting debate as there are arguments for both sides of the coin. Nature vs nurture. Based on my experience of mental illness here is how it is for me. On my dad's side of the family his grandma lived in an asylum until the date she died. Reading between the lines she had bipolar. My nan had a personality disorder and my dad and his 2 sisters have had depression. On my mum's side of the family my cousin committed suicide. So for me I do think that there was some genetic element that I was predisposed to having some form of mental illness.

I also believe that environmental factors play a big part of mental illness. For example, I have Schizoaffective Disorder so it means I often have more dopamine than I should have which would suggest nature, but an environmental factor such as being in an abusive relationship could potentially trigger an episode. For all my episodes I've always had a trigger to cause it, it's never really come out of the blue.

I think it's possible that when a parent has mental illness, it can have an effect on the child/ren as they may witness episodes and be exposed to having mental illness.

Most personality disorders are mostly caused by environment rather than genetic. Abuse, bad childhood, bullying, rape etc. are very common in people with personality disorders.

This is just my opinion on my experience and what I have read so I hope it's helpful.
I don't know much but I've heard genes can play a part in it although my parents have never had anxiety or depression, I'm not sure anyone in my family history has, but I can't be sure. I believe my problems are from my life factors

Human Ex Machinae

Void Where Prohibited
My entire immediate family, and beyond, has varying degrees of depression, with varying degrees of awareness of that fact. It's baked in with us. It's not a bug it's a feature.

Legate Lanius

Well-Known Member
Well, our genetics give all of us desires and aversions. Just by being born the entire room of mental well-being is filled with flammable gas. All we need is a tiny spark from our environment and hell breaks loose.

Please Donate to Help Keep SF Running

Total amount