Mental Illness Warning Signs


There are many forms of mental illness. They affect all types of people and all ages. We don't fully understand what causes them. But we have learned to recognize them, even in the early stages. That's because mental illness often triggers dramatic changes. Here are the signs that help is needed.

Changes in Behavior and Appearance

Look for changes in a person's behavior and appearance. How well they sleep and eat may change. A person struggling with mental illness may stop caring for their hygiene or their living space. They may talk and act in odd and unusual ways. And you may notice dramatic mood swings.

Social Problems

Look for signs of trouble at school or at work. A serious athlete may suddenly quit the team. A dependable employee may stop coming to work. The person may lose interest in friends, or grow suspicious and nervous. They may feel disconnected from other people and from reality. This often leads to social withdrawal and isolation.

Problems with Thoughts

Mental illness can also cause problems with a person's thoughts. The person may have trouble thinking clearly. They may have problems with concentration, memory and logic. They may begin to have strange beliefs.


If you see these warning signs in yourself or in another person, do not ignore them. Get help as quickly as possible. Call a help line, or alert a medical professional. By acting quickly, you can help prevent serious problems. You may even help save a life.