For those of you who do not have a lot of experience or understanding of mental health symptoms and do not know what to look for or if you are a pastor at your church and want to do a quick five minute training for your volunteers on the warning signs of mental health, this is for you.

The video below is from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a non-profit organization with 500 local affiliates in local communities designed to help bring awareness, support, and education to those in need of it.

The video points out 10 common warning signs of mental health symptoms that include:

  • Feeling sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
  • Severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities
  • Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason
  • Seriously trying to harm or kill oneself or making plans to do so
  • Not eating throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain
  • Severe out-of-control risk taking behavior
  • Repeated use of drugs or alcohol
  • Drastic changes in behavior, personality, or sleeping habits
  • Extreme difficulty concentrating or staying still

Of course, I want to add to this list for those that want to know more:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Feeling excessively sad or low
  • Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
  • Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
  • Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
  • Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
  • Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in objective reality)
  • Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight” or anosognosia)
  • Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
  • Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
  • Thinking about suicide
  • Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
  • An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance

If you are a pastor and wanting to refer some one to counseling, check out our helpful guide here. And for everyone else, here are more resources if you struggle with mental health or look for a counseling center near you.

Published by Jeremy Smith

Jeremy is a Licensed Professional Counselor working with adults and youth. Jeremy has a history of working as a ministry director for Youth for Christ for 8 years and then working as a mental health and substance use adult counselor in Ohio, specifically running an Opioid Residential Treatment Center.

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