Signs of Mental Health Issues

What are the symptoms of a mental illness? If loved one or a friend does not seem themselves, how do you notice the difference between something serious or just a bad mood? Crying all the time, drinking too much or any other ongoing, significant change in a person’s behaviors, thoughts or feelings could be signs of a mental illness. Learn the signs that could prompt you to think that family member or a friend is dealing with a mental health issue.

Generally, it is not a single change but a combination. The following signs are not to help you determine a mental health issue, but instead to convince you that there might be a good reason to seek more information about your concerns:

  • We all get stressed or worried from time to time, but anxiety could be the sign of a mental health issue if it is constant and interferes all the time. Other symptoms of anxiety may include shortness of breath, swelling of the heart, restlessness, headache or a racing mind.
  • Have you noticed that your friend has lost interest in a hobby you used to share? If they have also seemed irritable or sad for at least two weeks, lacking in energy and motivation or are teary all the time, they might be dealing with depression.
  • Even everyone has different moods, sudden and dramatic changes in mood, such as extreme anger or distress, can be a symptom of mental illness.
  • Usually, we need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Persisting changes to a person’s sleep patterns could be a symptom of a mental illness. Sleeping too little or too much could indicate a sleeping disorder or depression as well insomnia could be a sign of anxiety or substance abuse.
  • Many of us want to lose a few pounds, but for some people fluctuating weight or rapid weight loss could be one of the warning signs of a mental illness, such as an eating disorder or depression.
  • We all need quiet time occasionally, but withdrawing from life, refusing to join in social activities especially if this is a major change, could indicate a mental health issue. If a loved one or friend is regularly isolating themselves, they may have depression, bipolar, a psychotic disorder, or another mental health issue.
  • If your friend or a loved one is using substances, such as alcohol or drugs to cope, it can be a sign of, and a contributor to, mental health issues.
  • Thoughts like ‘I am worthless’, ‘It is my fault‘ or ‘I am a failure‘ are all possible signs of a mental health issue, like depression. If they are frequently criticizing or blaming themselves, your friend or loved one may need help. When severe, a person may express a feeling to hurt or kill themselves.

If you are concerned about a friend or loved one, ask them how you can help. The first step for a person with symptoms of a mental illness is to see a doctor or other healthcare professional.