What to Look For

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How do you tell if you or a friend might need some help?

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental health disorders allows you to help yourself or others get the care they need. Here are 12 signs you might notice in yourself or a friend that may be reason for concern. They are certainly reason for you to talk with someone about what you're feeling:


  1. Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, depressed mood, poor self-esteem, or guilt

  2. Withdrawal from friends, family, and activities that you used

  3. Changes in eating or sleeping patterns

    1. Are you sleeping all the time, or having trouble falling asleep?

    2. Are you gaining weight, or never hungry?

  4. Anger, rage, or craving revenge

    1. Are you overreacting to criticism?

  5. Feeling tired or exhausted all of the time

  6. Trouble concentrating, thinking, remembering, or making decisions

    1. Are you suddenly struggling in school?

    2. Are your grades dropping?

  7. Restless, irritable, agitated, or anxious movements or behaviors

  8. Regular crying

  9. Neglect of personal care

    1. Have you stopped caring about your appearance, or stopped keeping up with your personal hygiene?

  10. Reckless or impulsive behaviors

    1. Are you drinking or using drugs excessively?

    2. Are you behaving unsafely in other ways?

  11. Persistent physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive problems, or chronic pain that do not respond to routine treatment

  12. Thoughts about death or suicide *

These signs are not always universal; some people may show behavioral changes, while others show physical symptoms. Men and women can also exhibit signs of depression differently. However, if you recognize any of the above 12 signs for more than several days in yourself, or a friend, seeking help should always be your first step

There are many places to get advice, support and treatment for mental health disorders to get you feeling better. Seeking help is really worth it. Learn about where you can turn.

Remember: There is help and there is hope. Mental illness is treatable and you deserve to get better. You are not alone.


If you are worried a friend may be thinking about suicide, immediate action is critical.

Suicide can be prevented. Most people who are suicidal show signs that they plan to take their own lives. Often those close to them are unaware of the significance of these signals or are unsure of what to do about them. There is no foolproof way to know for sure that a friend is thinking about hurting him/herself, but by recognizing warning signs and taking action, you can help.

The following warning signs of suicide demand IMMEDIATE attention.

  1. Threats to hurt or kill oneself, or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself

  2. Talk or writing about suicide or death, when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person

  3. Obtaining or looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means

  4. Giving away prized possessions and other personal things

If you notice these signs in yourself or a friend, you should immediately call your college's emergency number or 1-800-273-82551-800-273-8255 (TALK), the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, for a referral. If you cannot reach these contacts: go to an emergency room or mental health walk-in clinic, make sure you are not alone until professional help arrives and be sure that any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt are removed.



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