The causes

There’s no one reason why it happens but these are common triggers

All sorts of things affect mental health, from major life events to ongoing and persisting challenges. 

Your past


Research tells us that unfavourable experiences during childhood increase the risk of experiencing distress. And there is also evidence that shows genetics can play a role in whether we experience later depression or anxiety.  

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Major life changes


Whether it’s an event you’ve been expecting, or something that comes completely out of the blue, big changes can have a huge impact on your life. These big changes can trigger or make distress worse. A change to your or a family (whānau) member's role in life might be more challenging than expected.

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Ongoing challenges


An initial challenge or difficult situation could trigger or build up your distress. Sometimes these challenges build up and make the conflicts and frustrations of everyday life worse. These difficulties might include problems with your family (whānau); unemployment or financial stress; love or sex problems; ongoing illness/disability or problems with work (mahi) or school (kura).

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What next?

Once you understand what is contributing to the way you feel, you can learn what to do to start feeling better.

How to get better

Other people's stories

I hid the hurt I felt

I felt different

My worlds clashed

My disability affected my self-esteem

I had no way to ask for help