Identifying mental health problems

Identifying Mental Health Problems In Loved Ones: What Actions Can I Take?

Broaching the subject of mental health is never easy, even if you’ve been identifying mental health problems in loved ones. In fact, you may feel helpless and unsure about how to get them the help they need, especially if they’re reluctant to accept the fact that they need support.

For guidance on what signs you need to look for if you suspect someone you care about may be suffering from a mental health issue, continue scrolling through this post. With approximately 4.8 million Australians suffering from a mental or behavioural condition, this information could help you save more than one person.

Substance abuse

While substance abuse is not conclusive of mental health issues, if you notice this kind of behaviour out of the blue or is uncharacteristic for that person, it may be because they are struggling with their mental health.

Being quiet and withdrawn

Another way of identifying mental health problems in loved ones is by noticing if they’re suddenly quiet and withdrawn. While some people are naturally shy or private, being quiet and withdrawn is something totally different.

If your loved one is isolating themselves, this could be because they’re suffering from crippling anxiety, depression or other mood or mental health disorders.

Changes in appetite/weight

This doesn’t necessarily mean that your loved one is losing weight or has gone off their food. When battling with mental health issues, it’s just as common to put on weight and develop an unhealthy appetite for food, usually as a coping mechanism.

If you notice any of these changes, try and speak to your loved one or take them to see their GP.

Changes in sleeping patterns

Identifying mental health problems in loved ones can also be done by monitoring their sleeping patterns. Much like their appetite, someone who’s battling certain mental health conditions may either have trouble sleeping or might be sleeping too much.

These conditions include depression, insomnia and other sleep-related problems.

Emotional outbursts

Another sign that your loved one may be suffering from a mood disorder or any other mental health issue is if they’ve been having unexplained emotional outbursts. These could manifest themselves as extreme anger, distress or sadness and often, for reasons that don’t warrant such reactions.

An inability to deal with everyday events and activities

If you notice that someone you care about is finding it difficult to go about their usual routine and do things they once found simple, this could mean that they’re struggling with mental health issues.

In identifying mental health problems in loved ones, see how they’re dealing with routine activities. While any difficulty could be a result of other factors, mental health issues are usually at the top of the list.

Social withdrawal and isolation

This is another tell-tale sign of mental health challenges. People struggling with their mental health may withdraw from company and remain in solitude or suddenly become unsociable.

If this change is dramatic or abrupt, connect with your loved one and try to get them to open up about what’s bothering them or help them get the support of a qualified therapist.

Nowadays, individuals can even seek support through telehealth services, where they consult mental health professionals through an internet-connected device from the comfort of their homes.

Excessive worrying or distress

If the person you love is experiencing mental health challenges like anxiety, you may notice that they worry excessively about minor issues and are distressed about regular, everyday activities like going to work or participating in social situations.

Identifying mental health problems is possible through observation and compassion

While you may not be able to diagnose or correctly identify what your loved one is suffering from, identifying mental health problems is possible if you notice the signs we’ve outlined above.

Given that this list is not exhaustive, make sure you’re on the lookout for other personality and behavioural changes. Anything out of the ordinary or anything that’s concerning should be addressed by a GP or therapist.

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