Warning Signs of Mental Illness
07 October 2022
Dr. Gideon Lasco

Mental Illnesses are conditions that affect the way we think, feel, and behave. They may manifest as emotional changes, like feeling extreme sadness, fear, or anxiety. It can also manifest as states of confusion, like not being able to concentrate or think coherently, or having weird thoughts or feelings. Typically involving the brain, these conditions are often caused by an interplay of various factors including personal/environmental stressors, genetics, and biochemical/hormonal problems.


Most people will experience some form of mental health problem in their lifetimes, many of which resolve on their own. However, mental illness can also be severe and require professional attention and support. This is why it is important to recognize warning or danger signs of mental illness - for yourself or for your loved ones.

  • Sudden changes in mood or personality
  • Sudden changes in daily routine (e.g. sleeping, eating)
  • Prolonged and/or excessive feeling of depression, sadness, anger, fear, or other emotions
  • Withdrawal from social or professional activities
  • Failure to fulfill daily responsibilities
  • Delusions (i.e. having weird thoughts)
  • Hallucinations (i.e. seeing, hearing, or sensing things that don’t exist)
  • Substance use
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Acts of aggression
  • Unexplained physical injuries


For children and young people, other warning signs include:

  • Sudden changes in academic performance and social engagements in school, including “cutting classes” or sudden drop in grades,
  • Defiance of authority at home or in school
  • Being hyperactive or excessively restless


What to do?

If you detect any of the above in yourself or in your loved ones, action steps include offering or seeking peer support, facilitating or seeking professional counseling/help, and providing or seeking a safe, non-judgmental space where the affected individual can recover without fear of stigma or judgment.


The National Mental Health Crisis Hotline numbers are 1553 (Luzon-wide landline toll-free number), 09163514518 / 09178998727 (Globe), 09086392672 (Smart). Other external resources can be found here.