5 Physical Warning Signs That You Need Mental Health Help

If you’re reading this and struggling with suicidal thoughts, the National Suicidal Prevention Lifeline is available to you 24/7. It’s free and confidential: 1-800-273-8255.

Most people can tell the difference between they are feeling fine and when they are feeling stressed out. But what if a mental illness prevented you from recognizing that what you are feeling might not be “normal?” 

You or your loved ones may not even realize that you are experiencing the symptoms of a mental illness while you are struggling with it. Some mental illnesses are triggered by specific events in a person’s life, but other times they can come up for no particular reason at all. It happens to people all around the world, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you are experiencing it. You’re not alone. 

Many signs of mental illnesses only come out in a person’s moods and thoughts, so it might be hard to detect in yourself and others. But these physical warning signs might help you see that you should reach out for help from a professional. If you recognize these warning signs in someone close to you, reach out to them to see how they are doing. 

Change in appetite or weight gain/loss

Even though weight loss is sometimes the goal of a healthy life change, a sudden change in weight and appetite is an alarm bell that something might not be right. Keep an eye out for shifts in how much or how little you are eating in times of stress, loneliness, or other extreme emotions. 

Neglecting Hygiene Habits

When you are struggling with mental health, sometimes hygiene activities don’t take priority. If you’ve started to avoid things like brushing your teeth or showering, it would be a good idea to check-in and see if it’s time to seek help. 

Social Isolation

Even with social distancing requirements to mitigate the spread of COVID- 19 across the globe, it can be a troubling sign when someone isolates themselves from their social channels. Check in on your friends and family to let them know you’re thinking about them, even if you can’t see them in person. If you find yourself avoiding chances to catch up with your loved ones, even digitally, let them know that you might need their help keeping connected.  

Sleep disruptions

Can’t sleep? Or are you sleeping more than usual? Changes in your sleeping patterns can be a big alarm bell for mental illnesses. If you’ve tried various ways to help yourself sleep without any relief, there may be a more serious underlying issue.

Substance abuse

When we feel overwhelmed with our moods and emotions, sometimes we turn to less than healthy ways to cope. Substance abuse, of legal or illegal substances, is often a form of “self medication” by individuals needing a mental health intervention. If you or someone you know has dramatically increased their drug or alcohol use, it can be cause for concern. 

What should I do if I notice these warning signs? 

Look into getting help from mental health professionals.  If you notice these warning signs in a friend or loved one, have a loving, honest conversation with them about your concerns and see how you might help them find resources. There are lots of options to find a therapy that works for you. There are even counselors who you can contact entirely online! See the helpful links below to get started. 

Additional Resources

NutrienHealth.org – How to Find a Therapist

Psychiatry.org – Warning Signs of Mental Illness

NAMI.org – Know the Warning Signs