May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and a common question is “how do I know that I or someone I care about needs to see a mental health care?” This is a great time to learn some signs that may indicate that you need to seek mental health care and to take time to improve your mental health. Here are some things to look out for.

1. You are unable to do your work

The magic word is impairment. How much is how you are feeling getting in the way of your functioning. One domain impairment affects is work. You can’t do your work or you have difficulty completing it. You feel you can’t do your work, you’re having difficulty completing it. It’s taking longer to do it. You can’t seem to organize your task correctly. You make silly mistakes, and you take longer because you’re having to double and triple-check it. You may be forgetting to do things or tasks feel like a burden or mentally exhausting. Just the idea of going to work causes mental fatigue.

2. Your relationships are affected

You isolate yourself whether you are living with others or not. You’re spending time away from people and not socializing. Isolation is one of the common symptoms of everything from depression to anxiety, to bipolar to trauma can be irritability. Consequently, it’s hard to maintain healthy relationships if just hearing someone’s voice or talking to someone gets on your last nerve. Irritability can impact relationships whether you’re isolated or there is turmoil due to irritability.

3. Changes in your sleep or eating habits

This can be eating or sleeping too much or too little. You may feel no matter how much you sleep or how much you lie down, you never feel rested. You can lose your entire appetite or eat too much. I know you’ve also heard about emotional eating. Not only do people emotionally eat from stress, but sometimes they will emotionally eat because they’re bored.

4. You just don’t feel like yourself.

This one is extremely important because who’s the expert on you? You are the expert on yourself. You may just not feel like yourself and may not be able to put a finger on it. I want you to listen to that voice of intuition.

5. You have thoughts of hurting yourself or others

This is the one that gets people in trouble sometimes because they’ll think “I’m not at a point where I need help yet because I’m not suicidal.” Any thoughts of harm are a sign of trouble but don’t automatically mean that you need to be in the hospital.

Bonus: Changes in energy

You can feel exhausted and tired or feel like you have too much energy.

Bonus 2: Major mood changes

This can include feeling really sad, really irritable, or really anxious. This can also feel like having big mood swings.
What are some places to seek help?

It hurts my heart to know people are suffering when there is help available. You deserve to have great mental health and to get help to get there! If you are ready to jumpstart your mental health with Dr. Goodwin, visit Until next time, this is Dr. Ericka, and have a better day!