How Do You Know If You Have A Mental Health Problem?

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Even though mental health problems are common, affecting around 1 in 4 of us at any point in time, many people are still ignorant of the signs of a mental health problem, embarrassed to admit they might have a mental health problem, and unaware of the issues surrounding mental health problems in general.

A mental health disorder or a mental illness can be defined as when the psychological or behavioural patterns of an individual is causing distress to an extent that it is affecting the individual’s ability to carry out their normal routines.

Unfortunately, if left untreated, a mental health problem is unlikely to just go away by itself. However, getting someone to seek help is difficult if they can’t see or refuse to believe they have a mental health problem in the first place. The very first step that someone with a mental health problem has to take in order to start along the road to recovery is to admit that they need help.

What are the signs and symptoms of a mental health problem?

•    Persistent low moods and sadness
•    Excessive anxiety and fearfulness
•    Sleeping too much or too little
•    Loss of appetite or eating too much
•    Negative thinking
•    Bizarre behaviour
•    Complaints of vague aches and pains
•    Blaming oneself for everything
•    Emotional outbursts
•    Loss of interest in social activities
•    Hallucinations and delusions
•    Thoughts of suicide

This is not an exhaustive list but is an indication of some of the signs and symptoms that could indicate a mental health problem. However, just because you display some of the symptoms doesn’t mean you have a mental health problem. The only way a mental health problem can be diagnosed is by a qualified physician.

Who is likely to develop a mental health problem?

Absolutely anyone can develop a mental health problem, which may come as a big shock to some people who think it could never happen to them. Mental health problems can strike at any time, regardless of age, gender, social status, and so on. There is no one on earth that is immune to developing a mental health problem.

What causes mental health problems?

There isn’t a single identifiable cause of mental health problems, however a number of ‘triggers’ have been identified which may spark off a mental health problem in some people. These include:

•    Lack of Omega 3 fatty acids in the diet
•    Prolonged stress or trauma
•    Bereavement
•    Financial difficulties
•    Relationship breakdowns
•    Redundancy
•    Childbirth
•    Drug and alcohol abuse
•    Homelessness
•    Disability and long term sickness
•    Genetics

However, some people develop a mental health problem where there is no obvious trigger and yet others who do experience triggers don’t.

What to do if you suspect a mental health problem?

In the first instance, it’s important to speak to your doctor. The good news is that mental health problems are treatable and most people who develop a mental health problem will make a complete recovery sooner than they might think.

Learn how I beat Depression


  1. Graham Barnes
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Hi I have depression (self diagnosed) my grandparents both recently died whom I was really close too, one was from a suicide (I was the most closest to her) and then the other from cancer, my depression kicked in because i lost a job i thought i was looking for forever, i was doing well then boom my grandparents had to move into a old peoples home as they couldn’t look after themselves, i have aspergus syndrome so i went a bit ape on one of my clients who had cheated and lied to me, then my job ended it was a contract and they couldn’t afford to employ me and i was out of work for 6 months or so, depression had allready kicked in a bit when i was looking to get no where, i looked every hour of everyday it was exhausting, my parents said we don’t want you home, my grandparents where the only people who said when they had their house we will look after you, anyway i thought i would get a job as it took me 1 month to find out before of applying the same tactic, this time it injured me and i nearly couldn’t pay my bills, which is scary since i was very successful yrs ago, i had to close my business around the time my grandparents moved out of their house to see them leave their house was hard as my family lived within a short walking distance from it, i then got informed that my grandad had discouraged my Nana in doing things which my brother had done to me for years and that dawns on someone when you have no social interaction or can’t find a job, my Nana then later moved out of the shared room and starved herself, she then later died, earlier in my life i knew a friend who i was close to i was 1 day late to see her go, with my Nana been 1 day late too my depression got worse, the doctor cared, no one cared i lost all my self esteem, my grandad then died from cancer and my dads parkinsons has got worse, i just want to crawl up, to this day i still don’t want to get out of bed, i actually have had to bend my parents arms to move back home as i know im going under, with me having epilepsy my job options are limited which is hard, i tried going back to the college where i last worked as i contacted them too much when my depression started and i thought they where against me so i may do some volunteer work for them and im hoping that will help me. I am still in a place i don’t like where i want to curl up and cry, its very hard. i don’t want to work so i handed in my notice and i don’t want to learn i have never been like this knowing i have bills to pay its tuff, my parents are trying to convince me i don’t have depression but i think i do, the gp said i would be fine and gave me pills to try and help but that affected my epilepsy of which he didn’t know about and made my depression much worse to the point i don’t even want to talk about it, the only people i feel close to are now gone, my parents don’t want me and to tell you the truth i just want to go to where the people i was closest too are burried and stay there, its really tough as i don’t have the financial support to get me out of this mess and not wanting to do my work or any freelance work won’t help thus creating a circle. If anyone has a fix or suggestion on this one let me know please.

  2. emma cole
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    hi i’m emma, it started when i was 15, i was deaf and wore hearing aids, was bullied for it to the point they threw stones at me. I overdosed on monthly medication just to get out of exams and tried to join the navy so i wouldn’t see the bullies again. then i had my son now, he is 3, my so called husband, emotional, financially, and made us homesless, at that time and went off with another woman. It comes back now and again, if it wasn’t for my son i would be in a mental health hospital, please help me enjoy my son he starts school in september. I don’t know why i get so depressed but i do, i’m over wieght what i would like to be. please help me. some days i don’t want to get out of bed, i have nearly lost my job or resigned from my job over it.

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