It’s natural to worry about a loved one’s mental health, especially if you notice concerning changes in their behavior or mood. Here are some signs to watch out for and steps you can take to start a supportive conversation:

Signs of Concern:

  • Shifts in mood, such as persistent sadness, depression, irritability, or anger.
  • Recurrent feelings of hopelessness, low self-worth, humiliation or shame, guilt, or anxiety.
  • Recent expressions of feeling like a burden to others, experiencing unbearable pain, thoughts of suicide 
  • Sudden and seemingly unexplained improvement in emotional state.
  • Changes in behavior, like withdrawing from relationships, engaging in self-harm, withdrawal from activities. 
  • Alterations in routines, including sleep patterns and appetite.
  • Giving away personal items or expressing goodbye sentiments.

How to Start the Conversation:

  • Approach the topic directly but gently, expressing your concern.
  • Use open-ended questions like “How have you been feeling?” or “I’ve noticed some changes lately, can we talk about it?”
  • Ask directly about suicidal thoughts, using phrases like “Have you been having thoughts of suicide?”

Your support and willingness to listen can make a world of difference to someone struggling with their mental health.  Remember, if you or someone you know is struggling, help is available. You can call or text 988, the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, for immediate support and guidance. You are not alone.

Crisis Resources: 

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Crisis Text Line:  Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a volunteer crisis counselor. 

If you believe there is an imminent risk of danger, please call 911 or head to the nearest emergency room. 


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