When we break a bone, get a terrible sore throat, or have a pounding headache, it’s obvious the body needs some healing. We talk to doctors, take medicine, and rest. What about when our emotions are hurt? What if we’re suffering from the neck up?

Sadly, mental well-being often takes a back seat to physical health. When we’re struggling with emotions or going through a difficult time, most of us hide it away. If a loved one is going through this, either we don’t recognize the signs or we decide to keep silent.

That stops now! Teladoc Health has partnered with The Campaign to Change Direction®, a collection of citizens and leaders who want to change the culture of mental health, mental illness, and wellness. And the time is right: June 9-15 is A Week to Change Direction. We’re joining the effort to spread the five signs of emotional pain so we can all get better at recognizing who may need help and when.

“It’s time to change the culture around mental health so more people around the world can get the help they need,” says Dr. Aron Wolf, senior Teladoc consultant and psychiatrist. “Professional help offers support and hope for anyone feeling fragile, sad, or silenced.”

So how can you tell if you (or someone you know) needs help? One in five U.S. adults has a mental health condition like depression or anxiety.1 Read about the five signs of emotional suffering and healthy habits for wellness that apply to everyone and anyone.

Five signs graphic

Simple signs

Maybe you see signs in yourself. Maybe it’s in a relative, partner, or co-worker. If you notice any of these signs of emotional pain,2 reach out, connect, and encourage.

  • Personality change
    Are there sudden or gradual changes in the way someone typically acts? Does he or she behave in ways that don’t fit personal values? These differences are a red flag of a larger problem.
  • Agitated
    Is a friend unusually angry, anxious, agitated, or moody? Is he having outbursts or problems calming down? Minor issues that cause explosive anger episodes may be a concern.
  • Withdrawn
    Has someone you know become isolated from her community, friends, or family? If she’s typically engaged but withdraws from activities, she could need support. Be aware of significant social changes.
  • Poor self-care
    Are you noticing someone engaging in risky behavior, or not putting forth efforts to care for himself? Poor judgment, a lack of self-concern, or abuse of drugs or alcohol can be destructive. Even lack of hygiene, a change in sleep patterns, or a slide in exercise routine could signal a problem.
  • Hopelessness
    If there’s a sense of hopelessness or feeling overwhelmed, a friend may be feeling shame, guilt, grief, or fear. If he used to be a “glass half full” person and is now down in the dumps, listen to his words and tell him how much he matters.

Healthy habits

Whether you have a specific problem, are going through a difficult time, or just need some inspiration for you or a loved one, here are the habits The Campaign to Change Direction recommends for emotional well-being. These aren’t for a specific condition or disorder—they are for you.

  1. Take care
    Listen to yourself—you have physical, mental, and emotional needs. Be intentional about connecting the dots between how you feel and what you’re doing. It’s vital to eat healthily, get enough sleep, and exercise.
  2. Check in
    Our bodies, our teeth, even our cars get checkups! Who do you rely on emotionally, and who relies on you? Frequent checkups for our emotional well-being could be with a therapist, counselor, doctor, friend, parent, or sibling. Make talking and listening part of your upkeep.
  3. Engage and connect wisely
    Pay attention to the quality of your relationships. If they aren’t healthy, you can’t be healthy. Don’t jeopardize your sense of self in a taxing or destructive relationship. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good.
  4. Relax
    A little fun goes a long way in life. What hobbies fill up your pitcher: playing sports, gardening, dancing, cooking, listening to music? Do you set aside time to slow down and relax with deep breathing, journaling, or time outdoors? Find what works for you and make time. It matters.
  5. Know
    Review the signs above, and be aware of emotional suffering. If you notice signs like agitation, hopelessness, or sudden changes in someone you love, reach out. Suggest professional help or take that step personally.

Help and hope

Many people who are suffering want to believe, “I can do this. I can beat this, all by myself.” Many times, though, we need the care of a therapist to help us through a dark time. “A trained specialist can help you change your perspective and offer tips and strategies for coping,” Dr. Wolf explains. “That first step toward therapy can be difficult, but it’s often the one that sends you on the path to lasting change.”

If you need to make a change—or have someone hold your hand through a difficult time—we’re here for you. We have an open mind and an honest outlook about mental health, focused on improving well-being no matter your age, stage, or issue. We really listen to you, without judgment. Reach out any day of the week to schedule an appointment within three days with one of our U.S. board-certified Teladoc physicians or therapists. Fully confidential help is here online, through our app, or by phone (800-TELADOC or 800-835-2362). Find more joy in life, starting now.

References

1http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/issues/state-mental-health-america-2018
2https://www.changedirection.org/#five-signs

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