Current and emerging scientific research

An increasing body of research suggests that mental health issues are not ‘all in the mind.’ They are the consequence of prior conditions involving the individual’s:

  • Body systems in particular the nervous, endocrine and immune systems, gut microbiota; and genes and how they are turned on or off (epigenetics)
  • Underlying health conditions, such as chronic inflammatory conditions, potentially long-lasting diseases such as Lyme disease, antibiotic use affecting gut microbiota, and food allergies
  • Specific environment, including bullying, deprivation, exposure to nitrous gases, stressors
  • Choices and actions, for example, sleep, diet, intoxicants and exercise.

The research also indicates that developments over the life course influence the configuration and development of key systems in the body, particularly the nervous and immune systems. These developments appear to take place across the key stages of fetal-, infant-, childhood-, adolescent- and young adult development.

Read more about the need, and the challenges for scientific research…

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