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5 Signs Someone Is Struggling with Their Mental Health

How to Tell if a Friend or Loved One is Battling Mental Health Problems

May is Mental Health Month , which means now is the perfect time to educate yourself on some of the top warning signs someone is struggling with their mental health.

When someone suffers from depression, anxiety, PTSD, or any other mental health issue, support, love, and empathy can make a world of difference. The red flags aren't always easy to spot, though. Keep reading for the top 5 signs a friend or loved one is coping with mental health struggles, plus tips on how you can help.

1. Unexplained personality changes

When someone's personality changes drastically and without explanation, something is usually amiss. Mental illness isn't always the culprit, but it can definitely be a contributing factor. Rapid mood changes are one of the most common personality changes you might notice.

2. Frequent or intense mood changes

Similarly, mood shifts are another possible sign of mental health struggles. You may be on the lookout for things like sadness or anger, but bouts of extreme “highs” are equally worrying. This is known as mania and can include rushed speech, poor judgment, impulsivity, and risk-taking.

Assess the frequency of your loved one's mood changes, too. We all experience shifting moods, but people who feel good mentally tend to have a degree of consistency.

3. Social withdrawal and isolation

Some people are naturally introverted, but that's not what we're talking about in this case.

When a friend or loved one starts to cancel plans more frequently or begins spending large amounts of time alone, it could be a sign of emotional and/or mental health issues. People who have “closed themselves off” from their community often do so during times of mental duress.

4. Increased use of alcohol and drugs

Substance abuse can feel like a convenient coping mechanism for someone struggling with mental health problems, especially when they no longer care about their own health and well-being. These behaviors are especially concerning if the person has never used drugs or alcohol before.

5. Talking about suicide or self-harm

When someone expresses thoughts of self-harm or suicide, it needs to be taken seriously, even if they later try to convince you they weren't serious or were just joking.

You can and should be there for the people you care about during their lowest points, but don't try to take on work best suited for a qualified mental health professional. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is an amazing resource for people in distress. Their 24/7, free phone number is 1-800-273-8255.

How you can help a friend or loved one when they're battling mental illness

Knowing how to help is difficult. You might be afraid of saying the wrong thing or making things worse. I encourage you to confront those fears, because an empathetic friend can be incredibly helpful when someone is struggling with their mental health.

To learn more about supporting someone through common mental health issues, be sure to read these additional resources from the Foundations Counseling team:

The caring therapists at Fundations COunseling can help you live your best life. Contact us today!