What are the Most Common Mental Health Issues?
In our previous article, we shared our thoughts on mental health and how to prioritise your overall wellbeing. The aim was to help you understand that it’s more than just your mood. It encompasses your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and how you interact with others in your mind.
In this article, we’ll take you on a journey to explore what it means when your mental health declines, the most common mental health issues, and when you should seek professional help. Our purpose for this article is so you can understand mental health challenges and further help you understand your overall mental wellbeing.
What are the common signs and symptoms of poor mental health?
Some mental health challenges share common symptoms. Identifying these is a good baseline for checking if you or your loved one are experiencing challenges.
Noticeable or Increase in mood changes: One of the most common signs of poor emotional health is an adverse change in mood. From being happy and bright to feeling gloomy, sad, or empty. Although mood swings/changes are relatively common, they can become problematic when persistent.
Sudden waves of extreme discomfort and irritability: People struggling with mental health conditions typically experience unexplained discomfort or irritability. It’s a feeling of uneasiness in your body. Like an itch, you cannot scratch. A feeling that something wrong is always about to happen.
Sudden social withdrawal: Not wanting to spend time with your friends and family all the time is natural. But when you suddenly find yourself isolating more often than not and pull away from interacting with others can also be a sign of poor emotional wellness.
Changes in sleeping patterns: Sleep is essential in our daily life and mental wellbeing. But if you notice that you’re sleeping more or less than usual over a two-week period, this might indicate a decline in mental health. Further, this disruption in your sleep cycle can worsen your mental health if you do not identify the source.
Appetite change and weight fluctuations: Eating more or less than usual is normal with hormonal changes and physical exercise routines, but if you notice a change in your weight that appears significant and you’re having difficulty finding the reason for the sudden change, it would be an indication to start with a health check-up from your GP and a referral to seek psychological support if deemed necessary by your GP.
Brain fog: People experiencing emotional health issues may also experience cognitive issues—problems like memory loss, inability to focus, or difficulty following a train of thought. Brain fog and cognitive decline can be symptoms of a more serious mental condition.
Physical Symptoms: Unexplained physical complaints like headaches, digestive issues, or chronic pain can also be manifestations of underlying mental health challenges.
What are the most common mental health issues?
There are a lot of mental health challenges that affect people all over the world. Here are the more common ones affecting people.
Many people interchange depression with extreme feelings of sadness. Although a depressive episode might include extreme sadness, many different emotions are involved.
People with depression typically experience loneliness, loss of interest in activities, and emptiness. They also experience brain fog and other physical symptoms. Plus, a lot of different negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Things that would affect their daily life and their relationships.
If you want to learn more about depression, you can check out our article related to depression.
Anxiety is not just being nervous or afraid. Those two emotions are natural human emotions that are part of our brain’s survival mechanism inherited from our ancestors.
Anxiety is beyond those two. Anxiety is a debilitating mental illness that can make you feel paranoid and helpless. Generally, anxiety is characterised by excessive worry and fear.
There are various types of anxiety, including; Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Specific Phobia, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Agoraphobia.
You can learn more about the different types of anxiety by going to this guide we created.
Like anxiety, stress is a regular occurring event in our lives. It’s part of the human experience, and everyone experiences stress regularly. In moderate doses, stress is actually beneficial because it helps us grow. It becomes harmful when you experience excessive amounts of stress or are exposed to stress for a prolonged period. This is when chronic stress evolves.
Chronic stress is very taxing on our physical health because it puts our bodies into overdrive overworking our systems. As a result, it can trigger some extreme physical health problems. So, if left unaddressed, chronic stress can balloon into something critical to our physical health as well.
Learn more about stress in this article we published.
Physical Versus Mental Health Issues: It’s important to note that a lot of the symptoms outlined for indications of poor mental health can also be attributed to poor physical health. For example, if you are low in iron or vitamin D, these deficiencies can often mimic depression and anxiety symptoms. Our recommendation is that if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above and are having difficulty finding the source, it would be best to start with a health check up from your GP. Your GP will be able to determine if you are experiencing physical health issues or if you require a referral for mental health support, which is why your doctor is always a great place to start.
When to seek help for mental health issues.
Recognising the right time to seek help for mental health issues is essential on your journey to well-being. Here are some key indicators that it may be time to seek professional support:
Your symptoms are persistent and can’t be addressed. If you’ve been experiencing persistent symptoms that impact your daily life for two weeks or longer, it’s a clear sign to seek help. Symptoms you need to watch closely are overwhelming sadness, excessive worry, loss of interest in activities, sleep disturbances, or changes in appetite.
Lack of Improvement: If you have tried self-help strategies, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, or talking to friends and family, and haven’t seen improvement in your mental health, it’s time to consult a mental health professional. We can provide specialised guidance and treatment options for your condition.
Your symptoms are getting worse. If you notice that your symptoms are worsening or becoming more frequent and intense, seeking help early can prevent the condition from worsening.
Your day-to-day life is being severely impacted. When mental health issues begin to interfere significantly with your daily functioning, it’s a red flag. This interference can manifest as difficulty at work, strained relationships, social withdrawal, or a decline in self-care. It’s important to seek help if you feel you are experiencing difficulties that are impacting your personal, professional or social life.
You have thoughts of self-harm or suicide. If you ever have thoughts of self-harm or suicide, it’s important to seek help immediately. These thoughts should never be dismissed or underestimated. Reach out to a mental health professional, a crisis hotline, or a trusted person for support.
Understanding these common mental health issues is the first step towards de-stigmatisation and empathy. If you or someone you know is struggling with these conditions, remember that seeking professional help is essential. A qualified mental health provider can offer guidance, support, and strategies for managing symptoms, promoting well-being, and fostering a brighter future. Our team can help you navigate your mental well-being and address the challenges you’re experiencing.
If you’re experiencing mental health issues, or you know someone who is, reach out to MeHelp Psychology for assistance. We’re here to listen, chat and plan the right support for you.
If you require immediate assistance, Lifeline provides 24-hour crisis support telephone service and suicide prevention services.