1. Signs that someone may not be OK
Many people struggle to cope at one point or another of their lives. Reaching out to someone could help them know that someone cares, that they are valued, and help them access the support they need.
Everyone copes and reacts in their own way, but here are some general signs to look out for. For some people, several of these signs might apply - for others just one or two, or none.
Signs to look out for
- Feeling restless and agitated
- Feeling angry and aggressive
- Feeling tearful
- Being tired or lacking in energy
- Not wanting to talk to or be with people
- Not wanting to do things they usually enjoy
- Using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
- Finding it hard to cope with everyday things
- Not replying to messages or being distant
- Talking about feeling hopeless, helpless or worthless
- Talking about feeling trapped by life circumstances they can’t see a way out of, or feeling unable to escape their thoughts
- A change in routine, such as sleeping or eating more or less than normal
- Engaging in risk-taking behaviour, like gambling or violence
You might not always be able to spot these signs, especially as people start to physically self-isolate because of coronavirus. These emotions may be more difficult to spot if you're seeing less of the people you're close to.
It can also be useful to identify circumstances that can trigger suicidal thoughts or make it hard for someone to cope.
Situations to look out for
- loss, including loss of a friend or a family member through bereavement
- suicide or attempted suicide of family member, friend or public figure
- relationship and family problems
- housing problems
- financial worries
- job-related stress
- college or study-related pressures
- bullying, abuse or neglect
- loneliness and isolation
- challenging current events
- painful and/or disabling physical illness
- heavy use of or dependency on alcohol or other drugs
Again, these may not apply to everyone who is struggling, but they can be useful to look out for.