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Mental illness: how to spot the signs

If you spot these 4 symptoms, it’s time to speak to a professional
By Sharon Hunter

Feeling anxious? Lonely? Down in the dumps? Are you short-tempered? Do you wake up in the middle of the night, or avoid contact with your friends and family?

“These occasional bad feelings are normal responses to the worries and stresses of everyday life,” says Jeff Levitt, a psychologist and the manager Mental Health Clinical Services at Concordia’s Health Services. “If you’re going through a tough time — you’ve failed an important assignment, you were caught cheating on an exam, you’re going through a divorce — it would be abnormal not to feel badly.”

It’s when negative and distressing feelings linger for weeks, and when they interfere with your ability to fulfill responsibilities and obligations, that a visit with a health professional is warranted.

What to watch for: the symptoms

  • Disrupted sleep — much more than usual
  • Decreased appetite
  • Changes in mood that linger: anger, sadness, anxiety
  • Distressing negative thoughts (like hopelessness and sadness) that won’t go away

If these symptoms persist for two weeks or more, book an appointment with a psychologist at Student Services’ Counselling and Development office or at Health Services. Nurses at Health Services can also refer you to resources at Concordia and in the greater community.

How to assess your symptoms

Online resources can help you determine if you should seek professional help.

The Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental Health Meter is a good place to start. It asks you a series of questions before posting a score that can help you decide what steps to take.

But no matter what’s happening, just remember that you’re not alone. Concordia students should not hesitate to seek out assistance on campus. Student Services is here to help.

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