May 11, 2022 2 min read
Many young adults and adolescents struggle with mental illness, but not everyone seeks help. Statistics show that 1 in 3 young adults have experienced a mental illness in 2020 but only half of those got treatment. Adolescents and young adults are also at a higher risk of suicide compared to other age groups.
As you probably know, talking about mental health is the first step to making a change. And as a friend, you are in a unique position to lend a listening ear to someone you believe may be struggling and who can trust you. But how exactly do you know if your friend is just going through a bad period or is dealing with something far more serious? One way is by checking for these five telltale signs.
If your friend is avoiding people and activities they used to enjoy to the point of isolation, chances are that they’re struggling. Mental illness often causes people to experience negative mental states, like anxiety or depression. To avoid feeling like a killjoy or to prevent rejection, people may start to withdraw as a coping mechanism. Unfortunately, social isolation only worsens mental illness.
Significant changes in how one feels, thinks, and behaves are hallmark symptoms of most psychiatric problems. Depression, for example, can lead to ruminative thinking, low mood, and social withdrawal. If you notice such changes and if these changes are intense and have been present for longer than two weeks, it’s a good idea to check in with them.
If left untreated, mental illness can negatively affect your friend’s day-to-day energy levels. They may start to neglect their appearance, skip classes, or not meet deadlines. Even getting out of bed can be extremely challenging for someone in deep depression, while those affected by mania and psychosis can struggle to focus on a single task at a time or stay organized.
If your friend has been complaining about unexplained aches and pains, fatigue, insomnia, or trouble focusing, their symptoms could be due to an underlying mental health problem. Being in a constant state of stress and anxiety can flood the body with stress hormones that negatively affect health. Furthermore, studies have found that pain and depression share the same neural pathways.
Mental health struggle can show itself in many different ways. To learn more about what it may look like and how to support those struggling, consider completing the Be There certificate byJack.org, in partnership with Born This Way Foundation. Be There is an educational online resource for young people to help them identify when someone is struggling and how to safely support them while maintaining their own mental health. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we have decided to donate $1 from every Good Morning Snore Solution sale to Jack.org during the month of May.
Mental Health By the Numbers. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Updated Feb 2022.https://www.nami.org/mhstats#:~:text=21%25%20of%20U.S.%20adults%20experienced,represents%201%20in%2020%20adults.
Delgado PL. Common pathways of depression and pain.J Clin Psychiatry. 2004;65 Suppl 12:16-19.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15315473/
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