Learn the Signs

When you know what to look out for, it's easier to offer support or ask for help.

A Little Help Goes a Long Way

Everyone struggles at some point in their life. Some struggles are bigger than others, but all are important to recognize and respond to. No matter what kind of struggle, how big, or how long it may last, we can get through it easier with a little help. Whether you're concerned about yourself or a friend, these are the signs that someone is struggling. 

Change Is the Key

Changes in sleeping and eating patterns, behaviors, mood, appearance, and performance at work or school are often indicators that something's going on.

Changes like these might look like: 

  • isolating
  • increased alcohol or drug use
  • a change in online presence (websites they’re going to, what they’re posting, what they’re reading and talking about, how frequently they’re posting) 
  • sudden, significant drop in grades or performance at work 
  • sudden, dramatic burst of energy
  • uncharacteristic, impulsive, aggressive, or reckless behavior
  • dramatic change in appearance (hygiene, clothing, weight)
  • giving away important possessions 
  • abrupt or dramatic change in mood 
  • changes in speech patterns (slurred speech, rapid speech, disorganized or nonsensical speech)
  • talking about suicide 
  • talking about hurting themselves
  • talking about hurting someone else

If you notice these changes in someone else, check in - even if you don't know the whole story. Let them know you're there to listen and help. 

If you notice these changes in yourself, reach out to someone you trust or find a professional that can help.

two people sitting back to back wearing earbuds

The Nature of Warning Signs

  • Some people show signs, and you recognize them. 
  • Some people show signs, and you don’t recognize them. 
  • Sometimes you don’t recognize the signs until after a crisis or emergency.
  • Sometimes people choose not to show you the signs. 

It’s never your fault for not recognizing something in someone else, and it’s helpful to know what to look for. If you’re ever in doubt, questioning, or have a gut feeling that someone’s struggling, check in.

When you're not sure how to check in, remember CARE.

CARE With These Steps