In our society, mental health is often regarded as a stigma. It’s a topic that many people are hesitant to talk about openly. People are afraid of ignorant judgments and the negative implications of this illness. However, it’s essential to have these conversations because mental health is a genuine issue people deal with throughout their lives.
Mental health issues are exceptionally challenging to deal with, both for the person experiencing them and their loved ones. Often, family members are the direct line of defense against mental health crises. Given this reason, they must pay heed to and identify the signs that a loved one is struggling.
Mental Health – an Overview
The condition of well-being in which every individual realizes their potential, can cope with the everyday stresses of life, and work productively and fruitfully is what mental health encompasses.
There are many different types of mental illnesses, each with its own set of symptoms. Some common mental health concerns include:
- Chronic disorders (such as depression)
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
What Can Trigger Mental Illness?
There’s no such thing as a single concrete reason for mental health issues. Rather, it is the consequence of a mix of biological, psychological, and environmental factors. Below, we’ll discuss some of them:
It’s no secret that many individuals experience traumatic life experiences. It could include physical abuse, the death of a loved one, natural disasters, loss of a pregnancy or a child, or being in a severe accident. Fortunately, there are proven ways to deal with each one, and several firms offer therapy to help individuals heal.
For instance, organizations like Birth Injury Justice Center work with families to help them get the resources they need in case of a birth injury. Approaching such centers will prove worthwhile since they’ll help you navigate the intricacies of childbirth injuries.
Biological and Environmental Factors
A person’s genes and brain chemistry can contribute to the development of mental illness. In some cases, mental health conditions can pass down from generation to generation. If you have a family member who has a mental illness, you may be at a higher risk of developing it as well.
Various environmental factors can also contribute to the development of mental illness. These include exposure to violence, neglect, abuse, living in a war zone, or experiencing traumatic events. Abusive households have been proven to increase the risk of mental illnesses in future generations.
Unsurprisingly, medical conditions can also cause mental illness. For example, people with epilepsy or Huntington’s disease are at a higher risk of developing mental illness. Medications can also cause mental health problems. For instance, medicines for treating heart problems, cancer, and other diseases can cause mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
There are many telltale signs that family members can look for to determine if someone is battling a mental health issue. It’s crucial to remember that not everyone who experiences one or more of these symptoms has a mental health problem. However, if you observe most of these signs in someone you know, it may be time to reach out and offer support.
Some common signs that someone may be dealing with a mental health issue include:
1. Thoughts of Suicide
The most bitter indicator of declining mental health is having thoughts of suicide. These days, people often imagine ending their lives when faced with challenging situations. So, don’t leave them alone if you are worried that someone you know may be considering suicide. Remove any weapons, alcohol, or drugs that may be used in a suicide attempt.
Most importantly, take the person to a healthcare professional for further evaluation. If you are worried about someone, it is best to talk to them about your concerns.
2. Excessive Paranoia
Paranoia is when a person has an unreasonable fear of being harmed or persecuted. It can often lead to excessive suspicion and doubt about the trustworthiness of others. Suppose you notice that your family member is becoming increasingly paranoid. In that case, it may signify that they are struggling with mental health issues. So, try to be understanding, cooperative, and patient with them. If the paranoia is severe, you should consult a mental health professional.
3. Abandoning Responsibilities
Suppose your family member is suddenly abandoning their responsibilities. In that case, it may signify that they are struggling to cope with everyday life. It could include skipping work or school, not taking care of the house or themselves, and withdrawing from social activities.
If you notice your family member is doing this, try to talk to them about it and see how you can help them. Remember, talking about the problem is always better than pretending it doesn’t exist.
4. Changes in Behavior or Appearance
If your family member has always been a social butterfly but is now isolating themselves, it’s worth noticing. Similarly, if they have always been well-kempt but are now neglecting their appearance, this could be another red flag. Undoubtedly, there could be many reasons for changes in behavior or appearance. Still, it’s best to err on the side of caution and check in with your loved one.
5. Unexplained Mood Swings
Mood swings are common in people with mental health issues. You may notice your family member’s mood changing rapidly and without warning. They may seem happy one minute and then angry or sad the next. Mood swings could be a cause of anything, but if you’ve noticed them happening more frequently, it might be time to talk.
Some people with mental health issues may withdraw from family and friends. They may stop doing the activities they used to enjoy or isolate themselves from others. If you notice your loved one sleeping too much, keeping issues to themselves, or not wanting to leave the house- it might be time to intervene. However, it is essential to remember that intervening does not always have to be harsh. Inquiring how they are doing and offering concern may make a world of difference.
Preventing mental health issues from developing or worsening is always better than trying to fix them after they’ve already taken a toll. If you’re worried about a family member, the best thing you can do is talk to them and see how they’re doing. Likewise, it’s crucial to ask questions and offer your support- they may need someone to listen.