Extensive list of warning signs

  • Avoiding friends and social activities, social withdrawal
  • Changes in ability to manage responsibilities – at home and/or at university (i.e. inability to cope with daily problems and activities)
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Confused thinking or problems concentraiting and learning
  • Defiance of authority, truancy, theft, and/or vandalism
  • Difficulties understanding and relating to other people
  • Dramatic changes in sleeping habits (frequent inability to sleep at night)
  • Dramatic changes in eating habits (extreme hunger or lack of appetite)
  • Excessive complaints of physical ailments
  • Excessive fears, worries, and anxieties
  • Feeling excessively sad or low
  • Feelings of extreme highs and lows
  • Feeling tired or having low energy
  • Frequent outbursts or strong feeling of anger
  • Impulsive actions
  • Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight”)
  • Lost sense of self-worth
  • Numerous unexplained physical ailments
  • Strange thoughts (delusions or hallucinations)
  • Substance use (alcohol or drugs)
  • Suicidal thoughts

*Despite this being a comprehensive list, we want to emphasise that this list will be different from person to person.

**It is important to recognise that this list is not a list of symptoms. Instead it is a list you can look out for to assess the changes in your friend’s behaviour in order to see if something about them seems “off”.


For more information – you can visit the NHS Mental Health support page. It has a range of support, clinical information and guidance for using and referring to primary and secondary mental health care services as well as having a postcode search for local mental health services

What is mental wellbeing?
What to do and not to do if you are concerned about someone?
What kind of support can I offer?

Source: Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. in collaboration with Harvard University