When to seek help
When you are experiencing mental health problems, supportive and reliable information can help you make informed choices and could change your life. At the Black Dog Institute we share what we know to help you better understand what you're going through and to make you aware of the help available. Knowing when to seek help is a key step in taking control of your mental health.
You, or someone you know, may be feeling low, anxious or stressed. You're not alone. Around one in two of us will experience a mental illness at some time in our lives.
Everybody feels down or sad at times, but it's important to be able to recognise when a mood or behavioural change has become more than a temporary thing. Only a trained health professional can specifically diagnose someone with a mental illness.
You should seek help for depression if:
- you've been feeling really sad, overwhelmed or depressed most of the time
- you've had these feelings for two weeks or more
- it's affecting the way you can cope with life at home, work or school.
Signs and symptoms of depression can be physical or emotional. You may recognise some of these symptoms of depression in yourself or in someone you know. Having one or two of these symptoms may not necessarily indicate depression, but it's a good idea to check them with your GP.
You might be feeling:
- sad, teary, anxious or irritable
- hopeless and bad about yourself
- alone and isolated
You may be thinking:
- 'My problems are too difficult to solve'
- 'Life is too hard'
- 'Everything's going to go wrong'
- 'I'm no good'
- 'It's all my fault'
Perhaps you're having changes in:
- ability to find enjoyment and pleasure in things
- quality of sleep – sleeping a lot, waking up a lot, or insomnia
- appetite or weight
- interest in sex
- concentration and remembering things
- drinking or use of drugs.
Each individual is different. Not everyone experiencing a mental illness will show the typical signs and symptoms. Many of the above symptoms could be caused by or related to other things, such as a physical illness, the effects of medications, or stress.
Don't ignore the symptoms, see a health professional
It is important that you do not ignore the symptoms you have noticed or assume that they will just go away.
A trained health professional can help you get help if needed.