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Recognising Poor Mental Health in a Loved One

Sometimes it’s hard to know when a friend or family member is struggling with their mental health. You may recognise that they’re not their usual self, but you may feel unsure as to whether their mental health is impacted. For example:

  • They may seem a bit stressed or snappy.
  • Or they may be spending a lot of time alone and seem distant.
  • Or perhaps they’re drinking more than usual.

Alternatively, you may observe some sort of emotional struggle in a family member or friend, but this is how you’ve known them to be their whole life. For example, they may:

  • Be fairly sensitive and easily “set off” in anger or tears.
  • Or be often pessimistic and expressing their life worries.
  • Or dislike socialising and withdrawn if forced to participate in social situations.

With long term mild emotional vulnerability, it can be hard to distinguish between whether it’s related to poor mental health or whether it’s related to personality.

Given it can be hard to tell if someone you love is struggling with their mental health, the easiest way to find out is to ask. However, this depends on the relationship you share, and whether you feel comfortable asking questions surrounding your concerns. Though, it’s worth keeping in mind that people experiencing a mental health issue often report feeling relieved and supported when a friend or family member checks-in with them.

How to detect if someone you love is struggling in their mental health?

There are a few broad indicators that someone you love may be struggling with their mental health.

They may seem like a different version of themselves. For example, they may be flat and withdrawn, or they may appear often stressed. They also may be drinking excessively or spending lots of time playing video games or watching TV.

Your loved one may be behaving in extreme ways. Sure, everyone is different and vary in their behaviours, but if your loved one is behaving outside what seems “normal”, they may be struggling with their mental health. For example – they may not be eating enough food, or they may be talking about their relationship all the time, or perhaps they’re always asking for reassurance from others.

They may express intense and frequent difficult emotions. If your loved one is, for example, often angry, sad or frustrated, this may be a sign of depression. Or, let’s say, your loved one is often expressing concerns, worries or fears, this may be a sign of anxiety.

Your loved one may find it hard to function with day-to-day activities. For example, they may be missing days of work or avoiding their studies. Or, they may not be on top of their personal hygiene or basic self-care routine, such as going to bed at normal times.

How can Peaceful Mind Psychology help?

Our team of psychologists are trained and experienced in supporting carers or concerned loved ones. We will be able to help you understand what your loved one may be going through and how you can support them. Our psychologists will also give you the tools to reinforce your own resilience, as we understand the hardship involved in caring for a loved one with poor mental health. If you would like some professional assistance contact us at Peaceful Mind Psychology.