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10 Signs You May Need Mental Health Treatment [Find Help]

May 31, 2022

Table of Contents

What is a mental illness?
What are the warning signs you may need mental health treatment?
How do you know if something is wrong with you mentally?
At what age does mental illness start?
What can trigger mental illness in teens or young adults?
What is considered a serious mental illness?
What are the most serious mental illnesses?
How do I know if I need counseling or therapy?
What are the types of mental disorders?
Can mental disorders be treated?
Why might someone avoid getting help for a mental health concern?
What happens when mental health goes untreated?
What might worsen a person’s mental health?



What is a mental illness?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “a mental illness is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder. Mental health issues can vary in impact, ranging from no impairment to mild, moderate, and even severe impairment.”

Just about one in five adults in the United States are recorded as having some sort of mental health condition, which in 2020 meant 52.9 million Americans. Two general categories are used to define these conditions: Any Mental Illness (AMI) and Serious Mental Illness (SMI).

AMI is more of a general term for any mental illness ranging in severity. SMI is when a mental illness is severe and impacts your ability to accomplish daily tasks.

Mental health issues can feel isolating and difficult to handle on your own. Often, teens and young adults may not know how to communicate their feelings and end up suppressing them until they get worse.

Having a strong support network makes all the difference in treating teen and young adult mental health illnesses.


signs you may need mental health treatment

What are the warning signs you may need mental health treatment?

Life is difficult, especially during the developmental years of teens and young adults. Adolescents are dealing with peer pressure, school, work, finding an apartment, hormones, and parental expectations, all while trying to figure out who they are as a person.

Not every struggle is due to a mental illness, but it is important to know the warning signs so you can identify when you or a loved one needs some extra help.

General warning signs of mental illness in teens and young adults can include:

  1. Excessive worry, fear, or sadness
  2. Problems concentrating or learning
  3. Irritability or anger
  4. Extreme mood swings
  5. Isolating themselves or avoiding social situations
  6. Changes in sleeping or eating habits
  7. Intense concern over appearance
  8. Unexplainable health problems
  9. Substance abuse
  10. Self-harm or suicidal thoughts

How do you know if something is wrong with you mentally?

If you answer yes to at least 3 of these questions it might be time to get some mental health support.

  • Are you using substances to cope with stress or anxiety?
  • Have you lost interest in things you used to enjoy?
  • Are you self-isolating or avoiding friends?
  • Are you experiencing changes in your mood?
  • Is your performance suffering in school or at work?

If you suspect you may be experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, it is best to reach out to a mental health professional to get a proper diagnosis.



At what age does mental illness start?

Mental illnesses can appear at any age from birth to late in life, however, most appear earlier in life. According to the American Psychiatric Organization, “fifty percent of mental illnesses begin by age 14, and three-quarters begin by age 24.

Most serious mental health disorders do not just show up one day or randomly appear. Usually, a loved one, family member, teacher, doctor, etc. are able to see warning signs before the person is diagnosed.

Catching these signs early may even help the person learn to live with and manage their diagnosis. The longer a mental illness goes undiagnosed and mismanaged, the higher the likelihood it has to become more severe.

What can trigger mental illness in Teens or Young Adults?

Most mental illnesses and mood disorders are not caused or “triggered” by one singular thing. There may be many risk factors that play a role in the onset of a mental health issue.

Some of these mental health risk factors include:

  • Genetics
  • Unhealthy Habits
  • Stressful events or environment
  • Brain chemistry
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Negative thoughts
  • Childhood trauma or a traumatic event
  • Ongoing medical conditions (like diabetes)


What is considered a serious mental illness?

A mental illness is considered to be serious when severely interferes with and restricts your ability to complete daily life tasks or social activities.

According to the NIMH, “in 2020, There were an estimated 14.9 million adults 18 and older who were diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Young adults aged 18-25 years had the highest prevalence of SMI (9.7%) compared to adults aged 26-49 years (6.9%) and aged 50 and older (3.4%).“

What are the most serious mental illnesses?

While there are many different kinds of serious mental illnesses, the most common ones include schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, severe bipolar disorder, and severe major depression.

Bipolar disorder is categorized as a brain disorder where a person experiences intense mood swings, ranging from euphorically happy to depressively sad.

Schizophrenia is a severe mental health disorder where the person is unable to perceive reality in a normal way. They may hallucinate, have paranoia, disordered thinking; all of which severely interfere with their ability to function in daily life.

Major Depressive Disorder is one of the most common kinds of mental illness. While the symptoms and signs vary from person to person, common symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, anxiety, low energy, abnormal sleep patterns, and severe sadness that interfere with the person’s overall well-being and ability to sleep, eat, or work.

How do I know if I need counseling or therapy?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “if you have any signs or symptoms of a mental illness, see your primary care provider or mental health professional. Most mental illnesses don’t improve on their own, and if untreated, a mental illness may worsen over time and cause serious problems.”

Not to mention, trust your gut. If you feel like you need help then reach out to your parents, friends, or a professional and find yourself the help you need. Life is tough enough as it is; Sandstone Care is here if you need to talk.

What are the types of mental disorders?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists nearly 300 different mental health disorders.

A few of the major groups of mental disorders include:

  • Mood disorders (like bipolar disorder and depression)
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Personality disorder
  • Psychotic disorder (like schizophrenia)
  • Trauma-related disorders (like post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance use disorders

Can mental disorders be treated?

When you explore the signs and determine you may need mental health treatment, there are many different treatment options available. These options include, but are not limited to group, individual, or family therapy, as well as support groups.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reminds us that “choosing the right mix of treatments and supports that work for you is an important step in the recovery process. Treatment programs for mental health conditions will vary from person to person.”


Why might someone avoid getting help for a mental health concern?

While many different factors may keep an individual from seeking mental health treatment, some of the most common reasons are judgment, fear, doubt, misinformation, and not wanting to admit that they need help.

Historically there have been stigmas surrounding mental health and wellness. This means that society has placed shame and judgment on people struggling with and seeking help for mental health concerns. Thankfully these stigmatisms are lifting and seeking help is now widely accepted and encouraged.

So if you have read, the 10 signs you may need mental health treatment, and determined that you may need help, don’t worry about what others think, and please reach out to a professional to begin your wellness journey.

Emotion, face, expression, frustration, panic attack, mental stress, anxiety concept. Young anxious worried woman girl teenager character looking stressed and nervous with hands on mouth biting nails.


What happens when mental health goes untreated?

When a mental illness is left untreated, it can easily get worse and have extreme consequences for the person who is struggling, as well as for those around them. These consequences may include unemployment, injury or disability, homelessness, substance abuse, or suicide.

There are many helplines, resources, and outlets for people experiencing a mental health crisis. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.

What might worsen a person’s mental health?

There are several factors that could worsen a person’s mental health. These factors could be an environmental influence, like a traumatic event, or simply from leaving a mental health issue untreated. Physical health also plays a major role in staying mentally healthy.

Once you have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, it is important to be proactive with your wellness. There are many mental health services, including Sandstone Care, that provide a range of treatment options from inpatient to outpatient.


Mental health concerns are real, more common than you think, and thankfully treatable with health care providers like Sandstone Care.

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health or substance use issues, call (888) 850-1890 to speak with a Sandstone advisor and learn more about treatment options and how to find the help you need.

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