Common early signs

Good mental health is just as important as good physical health, and maintaining it should be a priority for everyone. Although not a difinitive list, some common early signs of a mental health problem are:


  • Losing interest in things you previously enjoyed.
  • Mood swings that are out of character for you.
  • Increased anxiety, looking or feeling ‘jumpy’ or agitated, sometimes including panic attacks.
  • Hearing and seeing things that others don’t.
  • Other differences in perception; for example, mistakenly believing that someone is trying to harm you, is laughing at you, or trying to take over your body.


  • Sleep problems.
  • Feeling tired and lacking energy.
  • Changes in eating habits. 
  • Loss of, or increase in, sexual desire.
  • Isolating yourself, socialising less; spending too much time in bed. 
  • Self–harming behaviour. 
  • Wanting to go out a lot more, needing very little sleep, feeling highly energetic, creative and sociable, making new friends rapidly, trusting strangers or spending excessively – this may signal that you are becoming ‘high’.

All of these signs can vary in severity. Often they can be relatively minor, or pass quickly. However, if they are particularly distressing, or continue for more than a short while, you may want to seek support and guidance from your local doctor (GP). See Your Health In Mind for further advice.

You can find out more about mental health and detailed information about specific conditions from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.


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