As I have been doing this blog I am in constant search for information and tools that can help take the intimidating topic of mental health issues and make it more manageable. With each mental health issue comes its own challenges, not to mention how each individual person handles the challenge. All of this makes it hard to come up with a way to generalize a way to identify mental health issues. This is where awareness and education comes in handy. As I was searching for new information I came across this great organization called Change the Direction.
Change the Direction is an organization that has the goal of changing the way our culture views and treats mental health issues. Like this blog and so many other organizations its goal is to raise awareness and education in hopes to bring about change. What I really like about Change the Direction is that it has a tool that takes the complex issue of catching mental health issues and makes it simpler to understand. Its tool is called “Know the Five Signs.” It is the idea that there are five five emotional signs that can be flags for seeing that someone is in emotional pain. These are the signs and their descriptions from their page:
- Personality Change: Their personality changes. You may notice sudden or gradual changes in the way that someone typically behaves. He or she may behave in ways that don’t seem to fit the person’s values, or the person may just seem different.
- Agitation: They seem uncharacteristically angry, anxious, agitated, or moody. You may notice the person has more frequent problems controlling his or her temper and seems irritable or unable to calm down. People in more extreme situations of this kind may be unable to sleep or may explode in anger at a minor problem.
- Withdrawal: They withdraw or isolate themselves from other people. Someone who used to be socially engaged may pull away from family and friends and stop taking part in activities he or she used to enjoy. In more severe cases the person may start failing to make it to work or school. Not to be confused with the behavior of someone who is more introverted, this sign is marked by a change in someone’s typical sociability, as when someone pulls away from the social support he or she typically has.
- Poor Self-Care: They stop taking care of themselves and may engage in risky behavior. You may notice a change in the person’s level of personal care or an act of poor judgment on his or her part. For instance, someone may let his or her personal hygiene deteriorate, or the person may start abusing
- Hopelessness: They seem overcome with hopelessness and overwhelmed by their circumstances. Have you noticed someone who used to be optimistic and now can’t find anything to be hopeful about? That person may be suffering from extreme or prolonged grief, or feelings of worthlessness or guilt. People in this situation may say that the world would be better off without them, suggesting suicidal thinking.
With this knowledge you have the power to have conversations and look out for those you care about. By recognizing when someone is in emotional pain you can walk beside him or her and help them get help. You can make the difference in someone’s life. You can help those suffering from mental health issues and help.
~Be mindful of the mind