Mental Health: Signs to Recognize - Wake Research

Mental Health: Signs to Recognize

Mental health symptoms can vary in severity and frequency from person to person. Thus, it’s not always easy to know if what you’re experiencing may pass on its own or whether it’s something that may require professional help. In honor of this heightened awareness, we wanted to share some warning signs about mental health and mental health conditions.

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Mental Health Issues Don’t Have to be Severe

Whatever you’re going through, the experiences and feelings you have are valid, and you deserve support. Most don’t consider changes in mental health symptoms serious or severe unless it’s negatively impacting your everyday life. For example, it’s normal to be sad or grieve after the death of a loved one. Or to feel angry after a breakup and anxious when starting a new job. Ultimately, it can still be helpful to talk to a counselor about how you’re feeling in these situations.

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However, if you are starting to feel concerned about changes in your mood or behavior, there are warning signs to watch out for—and effective ways to seek help for whatever signs you’re seeing.

What are the Warning Signs of Serious Mental Health Issues?

The Jed Foundation states that some of the many warning signs of serious mental health challenges include changes in:


  • Feeling sad or “down” for long periods without a specific reason
  • Noticeable mood changes from euphoric highs to very low depressive symptoms
  • Constantly worrying about a stressful event or incident
  • Feeling empty or apathetic about aspects of life
  • Violent outbursts of anger
  • Trouble relating to others’ thoughts and feelings

Behavioral Changes

  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Participating in self-injury behaviors, like cutting
  • Feelings of “losing time” or having significant memory gaps
  • Withdrawing socially from friends, family members, or other activities you once enjoyed
  • Seeing or believing in things that aren’t real


  • Sudden onset of sweating, nausea, rapid heart rate, or troubled breathing along with intense worry or fear
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Extreme fatigue despite adequate sleep
  • Differences in sex drive or sexual activity, including risky sexual behavior
  • Changes in eating behaviors.
  • Advancing Care Options for Mental Health Conditions
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Participating in research studies can help advance care options for mental health conditions and medical issues that can affect them.