Looking out for others

Everyday stresses, problems with friends or families, work, school, isolation, harassment, bullying etc will make most people irritable, withdrawn, overly sensitive and perhaps rebellious. Such feelings are entirely normal and will usually pass. However, if they don’t go away they can be symptoms of a mental health problem.

If you think that someone you know might be having problems, look out for the signs and symptoms listed below and talk to them about it. Most people will turn to a friend for support during tough times, so being there for your friends can really help.

Signs of a mental health problem

  • Withdrawal from friends, family, school, work, sports or other things that are usually enjoyable
  • A major change in mood or inappropriate responses to certain situations
  • Disturbed sleep – either not getting enough or sleeping too much
  • Disturbed eating patterns – either eating less than normal or over-eating
  • Preoccupation and obsession about a particular issue
  • Lack of care for personal appearance or personal responsibilities
  • A drop in performance at work or school or in hobbies
  • Doing things that don’t make sense to others or hearing or seeing things that nobody else can hear or see


Look after yourself

Remember, it is important to look after your own mental health, so don’t take on more than you feel comfortable with. Talk to someone about your concerns. You are not responsible for everyone else, but you can offer support. It can be a huge worry if someone tells you that they have thoughts of suicide. Sometimes they don’t want you to tell anyone else, but you must explain to them that you can’t keep this to yourself and that you can help them get the support they need. If someone confides in you, it means they are reaching out for help. If they didn’t want help, they wouldn’t have told you.