- NAMI Help Line
- NAMI Programs
- Living With A Mental Health Condition
- Family Members and Caregivers
- Teens & Young Adults
- Diverse Communities
- Veterans & Active Duty
- Discussion Groups
- Law Enforcement Officers
- Disaster and Emergency Resources
If you or someone you know is struggling, you are not alone.
There are many supports, services and treatment options that may help.
A change in behavior or mood may be the early warning signs of a
mental health condition and should never be ignored.
There are many different types of mental illness,
and it isn’t easy to simplify the range of challenges people face.
Here are some things to consider when reaching out:
If it's an emergency in which you or someone you know is suicidal,
you should immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
at 1-800-273-8255, call 911 or go to a hospital or emergency room.
If you can wait a few days, make an appointment with your primary
healthcare provider or pediatrician if you think your condition is mild to moderate.
If your symptoms are moderate to severe, make an appointment with a
such as a psychiatrist.
You may also need to contact your community mental health center
primary health care provider for a referral. If you or your child is in
school or at college contact the school and ask about their support services.
Seek out support groups in your community and educate yourself
about your symptoms and diagnosis. Social support and knowledge
can be valuable tools for coping.
Know the Warning Signs
Trying to tell the difference between what expected
behaviors are and what might be the signs of a mental
illness isn't always easy. There's no easy test that can
let someone know if there is mental illness or if actions
and thoughts might be typical behaviors of a person or
the result of a physical illness. Each illness has its own
symptoms, but common signs of mental illness in adults
and adolescents can include the following:
· Excessive worrying or fear
· Feeling excessively sad or low
· Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
· Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs”
· Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
· Avoiding friends and social activities
· Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
· Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
· Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger
or lack of appetite
· Changes in sex drive
· Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations,
in which a person experiences and senses things that don't
exist in objective reality)
· Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior
or personality (”lack of insight” or anosognosia)
· Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
· Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes
(such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing
“aches and pains”)
· Thinking about suicide
· Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
· An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance
· Mental health conditions can begin to develop in young children.
· Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions,
their most obvious symptoms are behavioral. Symptoms in children may include the following:
· Changes in school performance
· Excessive anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
· Hyperactive behavior
· Frequent nightmares
· Frequent disobedience or aggression
· Frequent temper tantrums
Where to Get Help
Don’t be afraid to reach out if you or someone you know
needs help. Learning all you can about mental health is
an important first step. Reach out to your health insurance, primary care
doctor or state/country mental health authority for more resources.
Contact the NAMI Helpline at 303 321-3104 to find out
what services and supports are available in the state of Colorado.
If you or someone you know needs helps now, you
should immediately call the National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911.
Receiving a Diagnosis
Knowing warning signs can help let you know if you need
to speak to a professional. For many people, getting an
accurate diagnosis is the first step in a treatment plan.
Unlike diabetes or cancer, there is no medical test that
can accurately diagnose mental illness. A mental health professional
will use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric
Association, to assess symptoms and make a diagnosis.
The manual lists criteria including feelings and
behaviors and time limits in order to be officially
classified as a mental health condition. After diagnosis,
a health care provider can help develop a treatment plan
that could include medication, therapy or other lifestyle changes.
Getting a diagnosis is just the first step; knowing your
own preferences and goals is also important.
Treatments for mental illness vary by diagnosis and by person.
There’s no “one size fits all” treatment. Treatment options can include
medication, counseling (therapy), social support and education.