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Overview

If you think or believe you may have mental health problems, it can be helpful to reach out and talk about these issues with others. It can be scary to discuss with someone, but it is often the first key step in helping you to heal and recover. You can find a trusted individual such as your parents, a family member, teacher, faith leader, or healthcare provider to be your support system. They can help to provide you with advice when you ask for it and assist you in taking action that will help. You may also join a peer group who has a similar situation to yours. A support system allows you to have the space to change, make decisions or make mistakes, grow, heal and recover.

You can also reach out to a psychiatrist, who can work with you to develop a recovery plan. It is important that you are educated, informed and engaged about your own mental health and participate in your treatment decisions.

When to see a doctor

If you have any signs and symptoms of a mental health illness, see your family doctor or a mental health professional. Mental illness can get worse over time and cause serious problems if left untreated. With early treatment, you will receive the help needed to help you on your recovery journey.

Signs and symptoms of mental illness

  • Confused thinking
  • Delusions, paranoia or hallucinations
  • Excessive anger, hostility or violence
  • Excessive fears, worries or feelings of guilt
  • Extreme mood changes of high and lows
  • Feeling down and sad
  • Have difficulties with alcohol or drug abuse
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Inability to cope with daily activities and stress
  • Insomnia and significant tiredness
  • Major changes in eating habits
  • Suicidal thinking

Helping a loved one

If you recognize a family member, friend or individual who shows signs of mental illness, have an open discussion with the person to offer encouragement and support. You may also help him/her to reach out to a qualified mental health professional. If you observe someone has done self-harm or is considering doing so, contact emergency help immediately.

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