Everyone goes through hard times in their lives and on World Mental Health Day, it is important to learn how to recognise these symptoms, as well as understanding them, in both yourself and those around you whether it be a friend, family member or colleague.

How to Recognise the Symptoms

When it comes to mental health problems, everyone deals with their own issues in different ways. Someone may appear to have it altogether on the outside but inside they are troubled. Therefore, it is important to check up on the people you know; even the ones who seem the life of the party.

As well as looking after others, you must take care of yourself and recognise your own behaviour and feelings to understand when you’re not acting like your normal self.

Although certain symptoms are common with mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, no two people will act the same when they are unwell. If you or someone you know is unwell, you might notice changes in mood or general behaviour. Here are some of the things which you should take notice of:

Depression

  • Loss of interest in day-to-day activities
  • Loss of confidence and withdrawing from friends and family
  • Unusual levels of fatigue
  • Tearful, irritable or angry without cause
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Consuming more alcohol than normal

Anxiety

  • Lack of concentration and memory loss
  • Clouded judgement
  • Easily startled
  • Avoidance of daily situations
  • Irritable or have anger outbursts
  • Sudden withdrawal from friends and family e.g. ignoring text messages, appearing ‘off the grid’.

Mental illnesses are extremely complex and usually some may come hand in hand, like anxiety and depression. For more information on mental health, click here.

How Can I Help Someone I Know?

There are many things you can do to benefit yourself when suffering from a mental health problem such as talking about it one-to-one. When you or someone close to you appears to be troubled, it’s important to act fast before it escalates. If you wait and hope they will come to you, or wait until they speak up on their own, you may lose them valuable time in getting the help they need. Here are some tips for talking about mental health which may make the situation easier:

Make time. Set aside time with no distractions for you to provide an open, non-judgmental space.

Don’t force conversation. Let the individual lead the conversation and discuss their issues at their own pace. Opening up about mental health takes a lot of courage and by putting pressure on them, it may cause them to put their guard up.

Mention well-being. Exercising, having a healthy diet and taking a break can help protect mental health and sustain wellbeing. Talk about ways of de-stressing and ask if they find anything helpful.

Don’t self-diagnose. While you may be available to offer support, you aren’t a trained counsellor. Try not to make assumptions or diagnose them on your own.

Know your limits. If you believe they are in danger or require medical help, you need to act immediately to ensure their safety.

If it is someone you are very close to, like a family member or a friend, they might feel uncomfortable talking to you about their problems – don’t take this personally! By talking to someone close, they may worry that they are implying you are part of the problem. It may also be helpful to provide information of local organisations they can reach out to anonymously.

If you or someone you know is struggling, we have compiled a list of suitable resources which you may find helpful:

Together, we can Crush the Stigma!