In everyone's lives, there are periods of sadness, discouragement, or difficulty in adjusting to new situations. It's not unusual to experience these feelings, but they can become a concern if they are frequent or prolonged or if they interfere in daily life.Unfortunately, it is often difficult for people to seek support for their concerns. As a friend or family member, how do you know when you should encourage someone to get professional advice about these problems? How can you help a person in need? What can you do if you think the situation is urgent?
First, you need to recognize the signs that indicate that someone needs help. Mental Health America has a short list of general symptoms that can apply to a number of mental health conditions. In adults, signs include:
If a friend, family member, or fellow student is experiencing any of these symptoms and/or you have noticed changes in that person's academic life, in behavior with others, and in daily habits, he or she may be experiencing something more than just stress. This person may benefit from talking to a health care professional about how they are feeling.
What can you do to help? If you have decided to approach a friend, family member, or fellow student about your concerns, here are some suggestions that might be useful.
If you are approached by an individual seeking advice for problems he or she is experiencing, you can be supportive in a number of ways.
The most important thing anyone can do for a person suffering from a mental health problem is to help him or her get an appropriate diagnosis and treatment from a health care professional.
Remember, all talk of suicide should be treated seriously and should be shared with someone in a position to help.
What if the situation is urgent? Urgent situations include such things as an individual expressing threats of harm to self or others verbally or in writing, or exhibiting troublesome behavior, such as excessive rage and incoherent thoughts. In emergency situations:
For additional information on this topic, visit the Campus Mind Works page.
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