No, mental illness is just that…an illness. Mental illness should be thought of like any other chronic (long-term), severe illness that affects a person’s enjoyment of their life. It is similar in many ways to illnesses like high blood pressure and diabetes. Mental illnesses due to chemical and other changes in the brain. A family history of mental illness is also important. While other factors are important, like difficult life events or how you cope with difficult situations for instance, we know that depression and other mental illnesses can occur in people who seem to have everything going for them.