If a friend or loved one doesn’t seem themselves, how do you spot the difference between a bad mood and something more serious? Drinking too much, crying all the time, or any other ongoing, significant change in a person’s behaviors, thoughts or feelings could be tell-tale signs of mental illness.

The following 5 signs are not to help you diagnose a mental health issue, but instead to reassure you that there might be a good reason to seek more information about your concerns.

Feeling anxious or worried

We all get worried or stressed from time to time. But anxiety could be the sign of a mental health issue if it’s constant and interferes all the time. Other symptoms of anxiety may include heart palpitationsshortness of breathheadache, restlessness, diarrhea, or a racing mind.

Feeling depressed or unhappy

Have you noticed that your friend has lost interest in a hobby you used to share? If they’ve also seemed sad or irritable for the last few weeks or more, lacking in motivation and energy or are teary all the time, they might be dealing with depression.

Emotional outbursts

Everyone has different moods, but sudden and dramatic changes in mood, such as extreme distress or anger, can be a symptom of mental illness.

Sleep problems

Generally, we need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Persisting changes to a person’s sleep patterns could be a symptom of mental illness. For example, insomnia could be a sign of anxiety or substance abuse. Sleeping too much or too little could indicate depression or a sleeping disorder.

Weight or appetite changes

Many of us want to lose a few kilos, but for some people fluctuating weight or rapid weight loss could be one of the warning signs of mental illness, such as depression or an eating disorder. Other mental health issues can impact appetite and weight too.


Curated by Nobuhle Bhengu

Uphembele Consulting Group