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Signs and symptoms to help you identify mental health issues

01 June 2021
It is not easy to figure out whether a player has mental health problems. However, if you are able to spot them in the early stages, it can be very helpful for the person in need because an early intervention can prevent these mental health problems from getting worse.

Signs and symptoms do vary depending on the type of mental health problem and the individual dealing with it.

Common experiences and symptoms to be aware of are:

Sleep changes: Dramatic changes in sleep schedule such as lack of sleep or oversleeping. Sudden significant tiredness or low energy.

Appetite changes: Strong appetite changes such as eating too much or too little.

Decline in personal care: Change in the degree of personal care such as lack of showering and shaving or bothering to look representative.

Difficulties with everyday tasks: Inability to cope with day-to-day activities.

Mood swings: Rapid or dramatic shifts in emotions, rapid mood swings, sudden bursts of anger, hostility and violence.

Social withdrawal: Recent social withdrawal from friends or family such as not attending social gatherings or parties.

Loss of interest: No interest in hobbies or activities normally enjoyed.

Thinking problems: Problems with concentration, focus, memory, logical thinking or speech, for which the cause is unclear.

Unusual behaviour: Odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behaviour compared to the person’s usual way of acting.

Physical pain: Several unexplained physical problems, such as stomach pain, back pain, headaches.

Substance abuse: Sudden frequent and heightened use of alcohol and/or drugs.

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How to react

If you notice a player experiencing these symptoms, remember to remain non-judgmental and allow them to tell their story. Please take note of the fact that resources are available. Also, encourage seeking help, e.g. From a mental health specialist.

If a player has suicidal thoughts or is thinking about self-harm, call the emergency service right away.