Are mental illnesses really contagious? Are mental illnesses really contagious?

Are mental illnesses really contagious?

Are mental illnesses really contagious?
A study, conducted by psychologists at the University of Helsinki, found that sharing a classroom with someone suffering from a certain mental condition increases the chances of developing the same condition at some point in the future.

Scientists say the results only show the possibility of a predicted link, and do not prove that mental illness can spread among teenagers.

The study included 713,800 Finnish people born between 1985 and 1987, and focused on the impact of classmates' problems on mental health.

After taking into account factors such as income and parents' mental health conditions, the research team found a relationship that could indicate that mental illness may be spreading between people.

This is particularly true for conditions such as anxiety and depression, but has not been as clear for other mental disorders such as schizophrenia.

The study focused on co-rumination, a psychological term that describes the common practice of reframing your problems and complaining about them over and over again.

Multiple studies have shown that even when controlling for other factors, co-rumination predisposes people to feelings of depression. She concluded that this could spread.

The new study supports the idea that social engagement can contribute to teens suffering from mental problems. 

“One way to combat this problem is to make sure mental health awareness campaigns are clear about what a medical condition is and what a normal reaction to stress is,” said study author Kristian Hakulainen, a psychologist at the University of Helsinki. “We have to be careful not to over-medicate and think "Normal reactions are somewhat abnormal behavior."

Many experts say mental illness is not contagious, blaming things like the spread of social media and an increased focus on academic achievement.

The study was published in JAMA Psychiatry,


  1. Mental health awareness campaigns will help us a lot.

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