Am I at risk?
by Kierra Jones | February 17, 2021
There is no simple answer to this question.
A recent analysis of over 33 studies with more than 7000 participants showed that children of parents with a severe mental illness (e.g., depression, bipolar mood disorder, psychosis) had an 18% probability of developing a severe mental illness before age 20. Their risk of having a mental health problem at any point over the age of 20 increased to 32%. In other words, 1 in 3 people whose parents had mental illness will develop a mental illness over the course of their lifetime. However, it is important to keep in mind that most people (68%) who had a parent with mental illness will not end up having mental health problems.
A good rule of thumb is that any time you're experiencing difficulties with your mood or thinking lasting longer than three weeks that negatively affecting school, relationships, or regular activities, you should talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.