Symptoms That May Be Signs of Mental Health Issues

by | Jan 22, 2019 | Mental Health

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If you’re hoping to look after your friends and family members better this year, it’s important to  make sure you are able to spot the signs of various mental health issues that might be affecting your loved ones. We often notice their physical difficulties before we notice mental struggles, but they are just as important.

Most people become better at hiding their problems and often put up a brave face, so they are not being judged. It’s essential to ensure you are able to see through the mask to identify what they are dealing with, so you can help.


General depression is hard to notice. We often dismiss it as the simple blues and stress, but you can tell when someone is really struggling. If you notice that their home is not as clean as it used to be, they are less motivated to socialize, they’re more tired than usual, or have become reclusive, for example, it is important that you ask the right questions without invading their privacy. 

Every person experiences depression differently, and this is why it can be hard to tell when they really need help. Be supportive and educate yourself of possible symptoms if you fear they may be struggling with depression.

Recommend they see a doctor or counselor, and perhaps offer to go to the appointment with them. Often, just knowing someone who cares is nearby and is trying to understand can make a world of difference in how they handle the day-to-day stresses of living with depression.   


There are different reasons people might experience anxiety. Some may be afraid of social situations, others may double and triple check everything several times, and later develop OCD. Others will develop a fear of driving, flying, or being in a large space. There is usually a cause for anxiety, although it can range widely from low self-esteem to extreme trauma.

Anxiety may be a bit , as their worries are more likely to be voiced. In addition, if they suffer from anxiety attacks, it becomes apparent based on the common signs of excessive sweating, fast heart rate, fidgeting, etc.

There are lots of treatments that can help, but taking the first step of seeking help can be extremely hard for many.

Low Self-Esteem

If you notice that your friend or family member simply doesn’t want to engage with others, avoids standing up for themselves or asking people for help, and is continually putting themselves down, for instance, their self-esteem may need a boost. It is absolutely crucial that you help your loved one, even if it is just giving them a self-help book as a present, so they can improve their confidence and get more out of their lives.

Check out the 5-Day Self-Esteem Challenge

Make the most of your #relationships by learning to spot the signs of #mentalhealth issues in your friends before they spiral out of control.

Mood Swings

Mood swings are often called anger issues, and considered normal for people. However, if your friend or family member is getting worked up over something that is not at all important, chances are that they are suffering from low mood swings and need mental health help. Their reactions are simply telling you that they cannot cope with various changes or injustice. Medication might not help, but getting them to understand and reflect on their emotions might.

Postpartum Depression

An increasing number of women suffer from postpartum depression, and this can not only impact them but also the rest of the family. There are some great ways to combat postpartum depression, including having the social support, getting enough rest, and physical exercise. Many people put down the signs of this issue to being tired and exhausted, but if it impacts the new mother’s ability to look after themselves and their baby, you are dealing with a more serious problem.


Some people hide their problems and try to self medicate. They will turn to drinking in the weekend only, finding an excuse to relax and let go. If this becomes more regular, and continues during the week, they might face social exclusion and trouble. Chances are that you don’t even know that the person has an obsession and is dependent on substances. You might need to look into mental health support agencies, so you don’t end up at overdose emergency services.


There are several types of obsession, and it is hard to notice. Nowadays, people become obsessed with their body image, their weight, or with their health. Some of them will develop obsession when it comes to a particular game or person. It is important that you help your loved one see where the limit is, and why it is important to know our own weaknesses. We become obsessed with an idea, a lifestyle, and end up overdoing it. It is nice to have a goal in life and working hard to reach it, but you also need to have moderation.

 There are several mental health issues people keep hidden. Make the most of your relationships and learn to spot the signs of problems before they spiral out of control. Everyone needs a friend to check up on them who’s there when they are ready to talk about their issues.

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  1. Erika @ In Search of Better

    This is a great post, because often it’s too hard to reach out for help yourself. I actually wrote a post myself a while back on practical ways to help a friend with depression, and it basically comes down to taking action. Just saying “call me if you need anything” won’t really help, because they won’t. You usually don’t want to “be more of a burden” when you’re depressed so it’s up to you to reach out.

    Doing things like cooking for them, picking them up for activities, bringing a pet over to play with, and exercising with them are great ways to spend time with them and making sure they do things that can help with their depression. 🙂

    • Ali Michelle

      You’re absolutely right about “not being a burden” to others. Even though we know in our hearts that’s likely untrue, our brains are continually telling us otherwise. Being open and honest with those in your support system and creating a “plan of attack” when they begin to see you withdraw, stop taking showers, sleeping more, etc. is a great first step.

      And I love the pet idea! It’s amazing what little “critters” can do for a person. If you’re worried your friend’s depression is setting in again, ask them to “babysit” or better yet “walk” your pet–even if you don’t need it. It will help them focus on something other than their own pain, give them a sense of purpose, get them out of the house, and provide them an opportunity to find comfort in the company of a furry friend. So healing! And it’s something you can do without them needing to reach out and ask for help.

      Excellent tips, Erika. Thank you! – Ali


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Make the most of your relationships by learning to spot the signs of #mentalhealth issues in your friends before they spiral out of control.