What is mental health? What are the early warning signs?

It is a common thought that mental illness is something rare that cannot happen to you, but to "someone else". Factually mental disorders are very common and widespread today.

When it comes to your family, it might become a real challenge - to cope with the fact that someone you love has a mental disease. It can be hard both emotionally and physically and can even make you vulnerable to the judgements of others.

But don't worry too much! If you feel that you or someone close to you has an emotional or mental problem, you should remember that there is still time for hope and help.

What is Mental Disease?
A mental illness represents slight to severe abnormalities in thoughts and behaviour that finally result in a person's inability to cope with regular life routines and demands.
Currently there are classified about 200 forms of mental illnesses. Among the most popular are bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, dementia and schizophrenia. Common symptoms usually include changes in mood and personality, social wthdrawal and personal habits.

Early Warning Symptomps
Some signs of problem can be detected at an earlt stage. You might want to consult a medical professional.
It is also very important not to ignore sudden changes that might appear in thoughts and behaviours. Below you can see a list with the most common symptomps. Make sure that the symptomps are not caused by a certain medical condition or recent consuming of substance.

Warning Signs in Adults and Adolescents:

  • Prolonged irretability and sadness (early sign of depression)
  • Confused thinking
  • Fast mood changes (extreme highs and lows)
  • Social withdrawal
  • Excessive worries, fears and anxieties
  • Severe feeling of anger
  • Significant changes in sleeping and eating habits
  • Delusions (strange thoughts)
  • Hallucinations
  • Growing inability to manage daily activities and solve common problems
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Substance abuse
  • Unexplained physical ailments

Warning Signs in Pre-Adolescents and Older Children

  • Excessive complaints of physical ailments
  • Inability to cope with daily activities and problems
  • Too many complaints of physical ailments
  • Substance abuse
  • Intense fear
  • Changes in eating/sleeping habits
  • Truancy, vandalism, theft and defiance of authority
  • Negative mood during a long period of time that may be combined with thoughts about death
  • Outbursts of anger

Warning Signs in Younger Children

  • Hyperactvity
  • Poor grades despite strong efforts
  • Changes in eating and/or sleeping habits
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Persistent agression and disobedience
  • Persistent temper tantrums

Warning Signs and Symptoms

To learn more about symptoms that are specific to a particular mental illness, search under Mental Health Information or refer to the Mental Health America brochure on that illness. The following are signs that your loved one may want to speak to a medical or mental health professional.

It is especially important to pay attention to sudden changes in thoughts and behaviors. Also keep in mind that the onset of several of the symptoms below, and not just any one change, indicates a problem that should be assessed. The symptoms below should not be due to recent substance use or another medical condition.
If you or someone you know is in crisis now, seek help immediately. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24 hour crisis center or dial 911 for immediate assistance.