Mental Health Struggles

Mental health problems seldom emerge full blown. They often first start as vague, subtle changes and this can make it difficult to tell if there is something going on. To complicate matters, a young person may wrestle with their difficulties for some time and not tell anyone. To others, they appear to be doing well. On the inside, they may be distressed, confused, and scared.

Below are some of the signs that a young person may be struggling and need support:

  • Marked decrease of interest or pleasure in usual activities
  • Persistent low mood
  • Worries much of the time 
  • Is very anxious when around other people   
  • Is irritable and easily frustrated
  • Expresses feelings of worthlessness and uselessness  
  • Has trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Withdrawn from family and friends; spends considerable amount of time alone
  • School performance has dropped or is not attending school
  • Change in eating habits or preoccupation with weight
  • Feels tired all the time and has no energy  
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Complains of headaches, nausea or other physical symptoms (that are not linked to a physical health problem)
  • Expresses odd beliefs that don’t seem to have any basis in reality
  • Appears at times to be talking to someone but there is no one there

Keep in mind that the signs listed above do not always mean that a person is struggling with a mental health problem.

Mental health problems are typically characterized by:

  • a pattern of changes
  • changes that persist or increase in severity over time
  • distress
  • decline in functioning (such as school or work, relationships with family and friends, recreational activities)


Young person's understanding