If you broke your arm or came down with the flu, you wouldn’t hesitate to seek medical attention. Dealing with mental health issues shouldn’t be any different. Big life changes—like going away to college or changing careers—can cause mental health challenges, so it’s important to watch for signs that you or a friend might need help. These are among the warnings signs to be aware of. Find more information at The National Alliance for Mental Illness website, nami.org.
- Withdrawing or seeming “down” for more than two weeks.
- Sudden changes in sleep patterns or appetite
- Severe, sudden mood swings
- Repeated excessive use of drugs or alcohol
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness
- Self-harming behaviors/talk of suicide
How to respond
- Reach out to a school counselor or someone at a mental health center for advice. They will want to help.
- If you are concerned about a friend, share your concerns with your friend in a nonjudgmental, compassionate way. Avoid dismissive language like “you’ll get over it,” or “toughen up.”
- Support your friend by checking in with them and including them in your plans. Even if they don’t join you, they will appreciate being asked.