Experts say that there are some common signs to look out for:
1. Withdrawal from daily activities, friends and family. Preferring to spend their time by themselves.
2. Sudden drop in functioning, skipping study or work for an extended period of time. Being unable to concentrate on routine tasks. Losing interest in activities that they enjoyed earlier.
3. Strongly held illogical beliefs or thinking (for example, someone has planted a chip in my head and now they can hear everything I think).
4. Continued crying spells, depressed mood, or suicidal thoughts.
5. Recurring aches and pains that have no medical basis.
6. Sudden, acute fear of things and places.
7. Extreme anxiety or agitation
8. Severe mood swings
9. Behavior that’s out of the ordinary
10. Drastic changes in sleep, appetite or self care.
11. Blunting of emotions; showing inappropriate emotions.
All of us may exhibit one or more of these behaviors during times of intense stress. If a person shows these behaviors consistently over a month or more, then they may have a mental illness. Approach the conversation with empathy and offer your support.
Mental and psychiatric disorders are in a spectrum and all these symptoms may not be true for all disorders. Every person’s experience of mental illness is unique and the symptoms may vary in type, intensity and duration.