Knowing when to refer a patient for mental health help can be tough, but it’s crucial to understand what to look out for. Suicide is preventable, and mental health issues that go unchecked can end up spiraling and leading to it. On-going and unmitigated depression and anxiety can prolong one’s suffering as well as make it more difficult to effectively apply therapeutic tools. Catching mental health struggles early on can produce more effective outcomes. Here’s an idea of when you should refer patients for mental health help.
They Believe Things Are Wrong With Them But You Can’t Find Anything Physical
Sometimes, a patient may know in their gut that something is amiss, even if doctors can’t find a medical reason for why they feel this way. If a patient is constantly coming in with different ailments but are medically cleared, it could be an indicator of a mental health issue. Stress, for example, can cause hair loss, appetite changes, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, and changes in sleeping patterns. Having symptoms for a few days or even a few weeks may be considered normal if this person is going through a change in their life or a particularly stressful event is happening. However, if physical symptoms persist, it could be the sign of a mental health issue that needs attention.
They Are Struggling To Maintain Relationships, Jobs, and Other Necessary Things
Relationships and jobs are crucial to our wellbeing. We need to keep the people we love close, and we need work to ensure we can comfortably provide for our basic needs. Struggling to maintain everything is sometimes a case of struggling to prioritize or as a result of life changes, but also sometimes a case of something more serious such as trauma, a mood disorder, or even ADHD.
They Report Suicidal Ideation
Reporting suicidal ideation does not make a person ‘suicidal’, but it could mean they are very depressed and need help before these thoughts become more serious. Being open to asking questions about suicidal ideation or thoughts about ending one’s life can be critical in assessing immediate safety as well as a need for mental health treatment.
They’ve Lost Their Lust For Life
People may be stressed at work but still go home and do things they enjoy, like spending time with their family, working out, and hobbies. However, if somebody has completely lost their lust for life and enjoyment of things they once loved, it’s a sign they need help.
They Are Obsessing
People are now more than ever, exposed to a plethora of information between 24 hour news broadcasts and social media posts. While many people are concerned with current events, some people become stuck ruminating and obsessing over particular issues or the state of the world in general. These obsessions may ultimately interfere with their daily functioning and increase feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, agitation, and even cause a sense of paranoia. When a patient presents as completely preoccupied by obsessive thoughts it may be time to get them some help.