Knowing The Signs

Looking out for one another is more important than ever before. After all, we are in the midst of a time when so many people are suffering from mental health problems. Contrary to what many people think, there are things that can be done to help those in need. By looking out for one another, we can spot when someone is in need of help.

Remember, any single one of these signs can be cause for concern – not all of the signs are always present. Equally, such behaviour may be in-keeping with a person’s personality. But when one of these signs represents a big shift in a person’s normal behaviour, it might be time to try and talk to them.


The person might be unusually angry, anxious moody, or may even be having severe mood swings. Their mental illness may manifest itself as prolonged periods of sadness. They may react unproportionately to a situation.


The person may exhibit a sudden or gradual change in personality. They may no longer believe in or neglect previously held morals, may say things they normally wouldn’t, and generally seem to have changed as a person.


The person may show significant changes in behaviour. They might be more argumentative than usual, fall out with friends and family, or generally exhibit unusual behaviour. They might see things that aren’t there, and have ideas not in-keeping with reality.


The person might start to take less care in their appearance, neglect their peronal hygiene, or put on or lose weight. They might engage in risky behaviour such as drug-taking or excessive drinking, and may put others at risk by their antics.


The person might appear to be having suicidal thoughts. They might voice their opinion that they are a burden to others, that no one would notice if they were gone, or that their family would be better off without them. They might even be making arrangements for death, such as writing a will.


The person may withdraw or isolate themselves from others, including family and friends. They might avoid leaving the house, stop attending school or University, and generally spend significant time alone. They will often not partake in activities that they used to enjoy.


The person simply put, might seem to have lost all hope. They might feel worthless, guilty, or have little to no motivation for life. Essentially, they may seem to have given up on life. They may seem to be unable to cope with life any longer.

How to Help

If anyone you know is exhibiting some of these signs, it is likely that they are struggling with mental illness. The earlier they receive help, the better their chances are of recovering.
It can all start with a simple conversation. It is important to listen to someone – give them an opportunity to discuss with you their problems. They will often have bottled up their emotions for a long time, and may find having the opportunity to talk to someone in a confidential and supportive environment is incredibly helpful.
You could offer to take them to see a GP, which is normally a good starting point. Remember to regularly check in on them, and to help where possible. But remember not to put a load on yourself – look after yourself too, your own mental health is just as important.
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