Early Warning Signs of Mental Illness

Learning about developing symptoms, or early warning signs, and taking action can help. Early intervention can help reduce the severity of an illness. It may even be possible to delay or prevent a major mental illness altogether.
Physical
  • Drastic changes in sleep and eating habits
  • Constantly tired and low of energy
  • Substance abuse (alcohol, tobacco, other drugs)
Behavioural
  • Loss of motivation, interest, and the desire to participate in any activity
  • Changes in academic performance
  • Disconnected from others or socially withdrawn
  • Inability to cope with stress and daily problems
  • Intention to hurt self or others*
Emotional
  • Prolonged sadness or irritability for more than two weeks
  • Rapid or drastic changes in mood, i.e. extreme highs and lows
  • Excessive fears, worries, anxieties and intense feelings of guilt
Cognitive [thought processes]
  • Problems in concentration, memory, thinking
  • Displaying of irrational thought patterns (e.g. hallucination, delusion)*
  • Suicidal ideation*
*Note: Symptoms such as suicidal ideation, intention to hurt self and others, as well as detachment from reality (hallucinations and delusions), requires immediate medical attention.