Could someone you know be experiencing a mental health condition?

02 August 2018

It is estimated that 45 per cent of Australians will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime [1]. It is, therefore, highly likely someone in your life is affected by mental health challenges, and it is important to know what a mental health condition looks like to reach out to those who are struggling.

Mental illnesses impact the way a person thinks, feels, behaves and interacts with others. While there are many mental health conditions, each with varying degrees of severity and which affect individuals in different ways, there are some common signs someone may be experiencing some mental health challenges.


Language and interactions

A person who is experiencing mental health challenges may be acting differently socially or through what they say. As a result, you might notice someone you know:

  • displaying a lack of interest in things they would normally enjoy or be involved in;
  • withdrawing from those around them;
  • showing signs of suicide ideation, which may include talking about feeling hopeless or seeing their activities or life as pointless; or
  • struggling to perform at their usual work standard.


Physical signs of a mental health condition

Mental illness often presents some physical clues that can prompt a conversation about how they are coping. The person may be therefore:

  • low in energy, tired and fatigued;
  • having trouble sleeping or experiencing insomnia;
  • struggling to concentrate on a task, remember things or make decisions;
  • experiencing some physical pains such as headaches; or
  • losing their appetite.


If you notice any signs someone you know could be struggling, there are several actions you can take: you can speak to them about it, approach their manager, or call Lifeline for support if you’re concerned for their immediate safety.

To learn more about how to support your colleagues’ mental health challenges, our Peer Support Booklet can help you.