Signs, symptoms & triggers

Mental health conditions affect your mood, thinking and behavior and impact the way you experience life.

Stress, genetics, nutrition, perinatal infections and exposure to environmental hazards are contributing factors to mental disorders.

Your individual attributes such as the ability to manage your thoughts, emotions, behaviours and interactions with others can also impact your mental health.

Your mental health is also affected by the social, cultural, economic, political and environmental factors such as national policies, social protection, standards of living, working conditions, and community support.


Changes in your mental health are generally followed by more or less noticeable signs:

  • Feeling sad or down
  • Significant tiredness or low energy
  • Disturbed sleeping
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Loss of sexual drive
  • Anger, hostility or iritability
  • Reduced ability to concentrate
  • Withdrawal from people and social activities
  • Feeling aggitated


A large variety of symptoms can precede a mental health condition:

  • Significant mood changes
  • Confused thinking
  • Unwanted thoughts
  • Obsessive thinking
  • Compulsive behaviours
  • Excesive fear and anxiety
  • Panick attacks
  • Self-hate or self-harm
  • Feeelings of helplessness or hoplesness
  • Major change in eating habits
  • Suicidal thinking
  • Substance and behaviour misuse
  • Detachment from reality i.e. delussions or hallucinations
  • Hypervigilance
  • Flashbacks, nightmares or intense distress


A number of triggers are known to lead to mental health conditions:

  • A history of mental illness in a blood relative, such as a parent or sibling
  • A previous mental illness
  • Brain damage or a traumatic brain injury
  • A childhood history of abuse or neglect
  • An ongoing (chronic) medical condition, such as diabetes
  • Traumatic experiences, such as military combat, rape or assault
  • Stressful life situations, such as financial problems, a loved one’s death or a divorce
  • Few friends or few healthy relationships
  • Use of alcohol or recreational drugs
  • Excessive use of certain behaviours as coping mechanisms