The COVID-19 Virus has certainly changed the way we are used to living. Australia has done an amazing job in protecting its citizens from wide spread contamination. The restrictions have affected so many people in so many ways. Hopefully with restrictions being relaxed as time goes by things can only get better.
Good mental health is a vital part of a person’s wellbeing. We are all guilty of neglecting this at times.
Warning signs that we need to pay attention to our mental health are:
- 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 with your relationships, work or everyday activities. Symptoms of anxiety may include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, headache, restlessness, diarrhoea 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 difficulties.
- 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 a mental health problems. For example insomnia could be a sign of anxiety or substance abuse. Sleeping too much or too little could indicate depression or an 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 a mental health difficulty, such as depression or an eating disorder. Other mental health issues can impact appetite and weight too
- Quiet or withdrawn
We all need quiet time occasionally, but withdrawing from everyday life, especially if this is a major change, could indicate a mental health issue. Refusing to join in social activities may be a sign they need help.
- Substance abuse
Are you worried a loved one is drinking too much? Using substances, such as alcohol or drugs, to cope can be a sign of, and a contributor to, mental health issues.
- Feeling guilty or worthless
Thoughts like ‘I’m a failure’, ‘It’s my fault’ or ‘I’m worthless’ are all possible signs of a mental health issue, such as depression. Your friend or loved one may need help if they’re frequently criticising or blaming themselves. When severe, a person may express a feeling to hurt or kill themselves. This feeling could mean the person is suicidal and urgent help is needed. Call a helpline such as Lifeline (13 11 14) in an emergency call on Triple zero (000) for an ambulance immediately.
- Changes in behaviour or feelings
A mental illness may start out as subtle changes to a person’s feelings, thinking and behaviour. Ongoing and significant changes could be a sign that they have or are developing a mental health issue. If something doesn’t seem ‘quite right’, it’s important to start the conversation about getting help.