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How to Identify Potential Mental Health Issues

April 10, 2020 4 min read

Mental health and wellbeing go hand in hand. Often, someones wellbeing suffers when they are going through the symptoms of a mental illness. There are a combination of changes that occur when someone is experiencing these symptoms. It is important to look out for your loved ones by reading more about identifying these issues below.

Mental Health Meaning

The traditional mental health meaning involves emotional and psychological states of wellbeing. Mental health affects an individual on every level, including their thoughts, their feelings and their actions. Anyone can experience mental health, no matter how old he or she is and no matter the background.

There are many factors associated with mental health and wellbeing as well. These include factors such as genetics, factors such as one's environment they grew up in and factors of a family history of mental health issues. There are also many warning signs associated with these concerns.

Telltale Signs of Potential Mental Health Issues

1. Anxiety and Worry

Worry is a natural process to many individuals, especially when stress levels are overwhelming. When this worry becomes worrisome is when it is constant and life-debilitating. Your loved one may also complain of an increased or irregular heartbeat, stomach problems and nausea, headaches, restlessness and racing thoughts that may signal anxiety.

2. Depression and Unhappiness

We also all become unhappy from time to time. When this unhappiness leads to a lack of interest or motivation in enjoyable or everyday activities, there could be a larger issue going on. If the individual consistently seems down, troubled or angry, he or she may be becoming depressed. This is further evidenced by instances of crying and becoming upset.

3. Mood Swings

Anyone can become moody and can easily snap or become angry when they are stressed or overwhelmed. If this is occurring on a more consistent or more extreme basis, a mental illness may be to blame. Often, these mood swings are out of nowhere and seem to be triggered by seemingly nothing. The moods are often to the extreme as well, causing extreme anger or distress.

4. Difficulties with Sleep

If an individual is sleeping significantly more or less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours a night or day, there could be a mental illness to blame. If these changes are constant, this is especially worrisome. Insomnia can indicate addiction, anxiety or other concerns. Over-sleeping indicates a lack of energy or motivation which can also be caused by addiction, or even depression.


5. Weight Fluctuations

If someone is dieting or putting forth effort, it is okay to notice a weight change such as lost weight. If these weight changes seem to be evidenced by seemingly nothing or stress, especially if the loss is rapid, there could be a mental illness. Anxiety and depression can both cause weight loss, as well as other concerns. An eating disorder could also be the cause.

6. Extreme Introversion

There are introverts and there are extroverts. If someone is naturally quiet, he or she is probably an introvert. If this individual suddenly becomes quiet and withdrawn though they were not previously, there could be a mental illness at play. Isolation can come from shame due to a mental illness such as depression or a psychosis, signaling a need for help.

7. Unhealthy Behaviors

If your loved one is engaged in substance use, a mental health issue could be the underlying cause. Often, drugs, behaviors and alcohol are used to cope with underlying issues. If someone's drinking is out of control or there is new drug use, this could be its own mental illness as well.
If alcohol and/or drugs become a major issue it may be worth considering firstly reaching out to an addiction and recovery retreat center.  

8. Worthlessness and Hopelessness

If someone is consistently calling themselves a failure or blaming themselves for issues that do not pertain to them, there could be a mental health concern such as depression. This self-criticism could lead to more harmful thoughts and behaviors as well. If these feelings persist, the individual could become suicidal and needs urgent help. Make sure you try to listen to your loved on closely in this situation.

9. Changes to Behaviour

If you notice only slight changes to behaviour as first, you may not worry. If these changes continue or become worse, it is probably worth it to be concerned. If you do not recognize your loved one due to how they are acting anymore, a mental health issue is probably forming. Be confident enough to talk to this individual about seeking help before it gets worse.


Mental Health Services in Australia

If you are encouraging a loved one to seek help, they should look into professional services such as those listed below.
  • ReachOut: online services
  • SANE Australia: 1800 18 7263
  • MIFA: 1800 985 944
  • Emergency Services: 000
If you are not located in Australia for one of the mental health services in Australia, here are some services in the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • Samaritans: online in UK and 116 123
  • Time to Change: online in UK
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline US: 1-800-273-TALK
  • US Emergency Assistance: 911


Final Thoughts

If you are worried about a loved one, there are several signs that point to a potential mental illness. Encourage them to seek out helpful services before things get worse. These services can provide valuable assistance and information to you and your loved ones.

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