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Mental Health Check: Warning Signs and How to Help

Mental Health Check

Mental well-being is extremely important. It involves your emotions, how you think, and how you interact with others.

Mental health issues can affect anyone, and recognising the warning signs is crucial for early intervention and support. Let’s explore some ways of identifying mental health issues, as well as some helpful next steps.

Taking care of your own mental health

Treating yourself well and understanding your emotions is an important part of daily life. Prioritising your mental well-being is key to ensuring you’re able to navigate life’s challenges while maintaining a healthy emotional state — and if you’re experiencing any mental health issues, it’s important to know that there are people and places to turn to.

Here are 10 ways to help you prioritise your mental health and stay balanced:

  • Value yourself and treat yourself with kindness
  • Take care of your body by eating well, exercising, and avoiding smoking and drinking
  • Surround yourself with good, positive people
  • Take some time out to help others
  • Balance your stress levels
  • Practice meditation and mindfulness
  • Set personal goals
  • Be spontaneous and try new things; this helps with brain health
  • Avoid alcohol, smoking and drugs
  • Reach out for help when you need it

Identifying mental health issues in others

Mental health issues can present itself in different ways, and identifying signs will help you support loved ones or even lead you to find help yourself. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Prolonged sadness, hopelessness, or isolation from activities that you or a loved one would usually enjoy could be a sign of depression or anxiety.
  • Extreme changes in behaviour like rapid weight loss or gain, increased irritability, aggression, or frequent mood swings can indicate underlying mental health issues.
  • A sudden drop in academic performance and marks, decreased concentration, or loss of interest in school can be signs of emotional distress.
  • Withdrawing from social interactions, avoiding friends, or isolating oneself from others may indicate feelings of loneliness or anxiety.
  • Physical symptoms like frequent headaches, stomachaches, or unexplained physical complaints without a clear medical cause could be manifestations of emotional distress.

How to support loved ones experiencing depression

Support and intervention comes from a place of compassion and care. Interventions need to be managed in a helpful, controlled manner to allow anyone involved to feel safe and protected.

  1. Initiate an open conversation: Approach your friend or loved one with empathy and non-judgment. Express your concern and let them know you’re there to listen and support them.
  2. Encourage professional help: Suggest that they seek assistance from a mental health professional like a therapist or counsellor. Offer to help them find resources or accompany them to appointments if they’re comfortable.
  3. Be patient and understanding: Understand that recovery takes time, and healing is not linear. Offer support without pressuring them.
  4. Maintain confidentiality and respect privacy: Ensure that you respect their trust by keeping their struggles confidential unless they are at risk of harming themselves or others.
  5. Educate yourself: Learn more about mental health issues to better understand what your friend or loved one may be experiencing. This knowledge will help you provide informed support.

Recognising the warning signs behind mental health issues is the first step towards providing or getting support. By being attentive and offering a listening ear, you can make a positive impact on someone’s life. Remember, your presence and support can be a lifeline for someone in need.

If you or anyone you know may be experiencing depression, anxiety or related issues, contact:

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