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Top Signs of Mental Illness in Young Adults

Rob Gent
September 11, 2020

Recent months have brought unprecedented isolation to young adults in America and an onslaught of mental illness and health concerns. How can you tell if a young adult is working through normal changes associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantines or truly struggling with mental health?

Take a closer look at the signs of mental illness in young adults and learn how you can assist your loved ones in getting the help they need.

5 Signs of Depression and Mental Illness in Young Adults

During this pandemic and time of staying physically away from family and friends, it can be normal to experience some common symptoms of depression including changes in weight, disruption in sleep patterns and days of sadness. However, when these symptoms become consistent and interrupt daily life, it may be time to seek help.

Here are the top five signs of depression and mental illness in young adults:

1. A depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.

The economic impact and restrictions surrounding COVID-19 lockdowns can bring about normal feelings of sadness. A loss of a job or a school closure can both result in these feelings. However, when a young adult is experiencing depression, these normal feelings of sadness last most of the day and nearly every day.

Listen closely and connect regularly to understand the depth of these feelings. 

2. Changes in weight (gain or loss).

Weight gain during this time is not uncommon, as most fitness centers have shut down and plenty of activities have come to a halt. Is your child merely spending more time in the kitchen or is eating controlling his or her life?

On the other hand, some young adults experiencing depression may lose weight, losing interest in food and family gatherings around the table.

3. Exhibiting a diminished interest of feelings or pleasure in activities.

As schools and sports teams shut down, there are fewer activities for young adults to participate in. However, having a lack of choices in entertainment is different than watching your loved one lose interest in a beloved hobby or sport.

Again, it is important to listen to your child and understand their lack of interest here. Is it a lack of opportunity or have they lost interest and a passion for what they used to love?

4. Feelings of worthlessness.

Young adults experiencing depression may report feelings of worthlessness.

While sometimes is dependent on circumstances, such as a job loss or a change in schooling, it may contribute to feelings of depression and a loss of purpose. 

5. Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation.

Young adults who are experiencing deep depression may have recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation or even attempt suicide.

If you are concerned that a young adult you know is experiencing depression or another form of mental illness, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible.

Seeking Mental Health Treatment at Dragonfly, Fulshear or The Optimum Performance Institute

A part of the Embark family of behavioral health programs, Dragonfly Transitions supports young adults on their journey of personal exploration, health and independence. Dragonfly helps young adults heal and find purpose by providing college and vocational, as well as recreation and therapeutic support.

Fulshear Treatment to Transition is committed to helping young adult women heal from addiction, anxiety, attachment disorders, mood, personality and trauma. Focused on creating lasting change, Fulshear’s compassionate and professional staff brings a holistic approach to treatment, helping each woman understand her personal values while realizing her unique potential.

At Optimum Performance Institute (OPI), young adults find the individualized and personalized help they need to navigate life’s challenges. Young adults are placed in peer groups where they find support and develop ways to communicate effectively while developing strength and resilience for the future.

If you are concerned about a young adult in your life, call Dragonfly, Fulshear or OPI. We are here to answer your questions and walk this journey with you.

Contact Dragonfly at: 855-338-8599, Fulshear at: 855-264-2177, or OPI at: 855-697-6498

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Rob Gent

Rob Gent, MA, LPC, is the Chief Clinical Officer at Embark Behavioral Health in Tempe, Arizona. His primary focus is leading the organization in clinical development and in the growth of numerous programs, as a co-founder of Calo Programs and the developer of the proprietary CASA treatment model. He enjoys sharing his knowledge at Embark and at conferences and trainings across the U.S. In his spare time, Gent likes to spend time outdoors with his wife and two sons.