Are you worried that someone you know may be having problems affecting their mental health? Would you know what to look out for?
You can find out more about mental health and detailed information about specific conditions from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, but you don’t have to have to be an expert to be able to recognise when someone is having difficulties coping. Often it is a change in someone’s behaviour that you will notice first:
- they may be more irritable than normal, with the smallest thing causing them to get annoyed with themselves or others around them;
- they may be spending more time alone and not want to go out and do the things they normally enjoy doing;
- they may complain of feeling tired and have disturbed sleep patterns;
- they may be skipping meals or eating more than normal;
- you may notice that they are misusing alcohol or drugs, or taking days off work, school or college.
Remember, we are all different and not everyone will display all of these early warning signs.
If you are worried or concerned about someone else, talk to them about your concerns. Ask them how they are feeling and if there is anything you can do to help them. Tell them that you have noticed that they “haven’t been themselves” recently. The worst thing that can happen is that they will tell you to mind your own business, but at least they will see that you cared enough to ask.
Even knowing that someone else has taken the time to notice how they are feeling can be helpful in itself and may encourage them to get help for themselves.
Finally, remember it is important that you look after your own mental health and not take on more than your feel comfortable with. Also remember that mental health problems are common and people do recover in the majority of cases.
You can also read about the issues that can affect mental health by following the links on the right.