Main Page Content

Risk factors are conditions that are associated with an increased risk for developing mental health concerns/illnesses (WHO, 2004). Some factors that may increase the risk for someone to develop a mental illness are (WHO, 2004):

  • Parental/familial history of mental illness
  • Medical illnesses, health problems, or poor nutrition
  • Family conflict or family disorganization
  • Stressful life events, such as the loss of a loved one
  • Substance use
  • Work stress or unemployment
  • Poverty

Protective factors are conditions that improve an individual’s resistance to risk factors and/or mental illnesses (WHO, 2004). Some factors that serve to protect people from developing mental health concerns are (WHO, 2004):

  • Ability to manage and cope with stress
  • High self-esteem
  • Strong attachments
  • Exercise
  • Good nutrition
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Social support from family and friends
  • Social and conflict management skills
  • Economic security and/or economic advantage
  • Access to housing
  • Access to strong community networks


World Health Organization [WHO]. (2004). Prevention of mental health disorders. Retrieved  from


Related Content: 

Last modified: 
Monday, December 9, 2019 - 9:59am