Liz Garone
July 3, 2024
When to Seek Help

A favorite quote of Happier Living's Director of Psychology Tom Rankin is by the esteemed author C.S. Lewis. “Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: It is easier to say ‘My tooth is aching’ than to say ‘My heart is broken.’”

Lewis was right. Many of us find it a lot easier to call our doctor when our physical health is suffering than to reach out to a professional for our mental health concerns. But it is crucial to pay just as much attention to both, and there are numerous signs that can indicate it would be a good time to reach out to a mental health professional.

Sadness or mood swings that don’t go away

Feeling sad, down, or hopeless on a regular basis can be a sign of depression. If you or someone you know is experiencing sudden and extreme mood swings that interfere with daily life, this could indicate a mood disorder.

Noticeable appetite or weight changes

Everyone gains and loses weight and experiences different levels of hunger at different times in life. But significant changes in appetite or weight, whether it's a sudden increase or decrease, can sometimes be connected to depression, anxiety, or eating disorders.

Getting too little or too much sleep

If you or someone you know is having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early, it could be a sign of anxiety or depression. Excessive sleeping can also be a sign of depression or another mood disorder.

A loss of interest or enjoyment

A loss of interest in activities once enjoyed or difficulty in feeling pleasure in things once loved can be a sign of depression.

Frequent anxiety and/or worry

Anxiety disorders often include excessive worry, fear, and nervousness that persist over time and interfere with daily activities. These can sometimes be accompanied by physical symptoms, such as sweating, trembling, or rapid heartbeat.

Difficulty concentrating or making decisions

We all forget things sometimes. But if it starts happening a lot or you are finding it difficult to focus or to make decisions, this could be related to depression, anxiety, or ­­­ADHD.

Withdrawing from friends and social activities

If you notice yourself or someone you love excessively avoiding social interactions or withdrawing from friends and family, depression or social anxiety could be the issue­­­­.

Physical aches and pains

It is easy to miss the connection, but chronic physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or back pain without a clear medical cause can be related to anxiety or stress.

Substance abuse

If you find yourself or someone you know using drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with emotions or to escape reality, there could be an underlying depression, anxiety, or PTSD.

Changes in behavior or personality

We all have good and bad days, but noticeable changes in behavior or personality, such as irritability, agitation, aggression, or impulsiveness, can be signs that one’s mental health needs attention.

Difficulty coping with stress

Life can be stressful, and without the right coping mechanisms, the stress can lead to a number of mental health issues.

Changes in energy levels

Mood disorders can often be accompanied by significant changes in energy levels, such as feeling tired all the time or having sudden bursts of energy.

Relationship difficulties

Whether it is with family, friends, or coworkers, experiencing frequent conflicts or challenges can be a sign that one’s mental health is in need of attention.

Intrusive thoughts

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), PTSD, or other anxiety disorders can often be accompanied by persistent, distressing, and uncontrollable thoughts or images that interfere with daily life.

Trauma or Grief

If you have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, or if a loved one has died, then seeking help is essential. 

Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide should always be taken seriously and require immediate attention. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can receive immediate support by calling or texting 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. In the case of a true emergency (such as a suicide attempt), do not call 988 but instead call 911 or go to the nearest ER.

How to Seek Help

If you notice any of the above signs or symptoms, Happier Living is here to help. Select "Get Started" at the top of our website to begin your healing journey. 


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