Are things just not right?
The first thing is the general impression that things aren’t right. The person’s social, work or school life seem to be taking a hit. Second, that the symptoms aren’t related to something physical (like a thyroid problem) or a substance (like medication or drug use.)
How long has it been going on?
Everyone has a bad day once in a while…but when things seem to be fine, and you’re having terrible symptoms almost every day that impact the way you function, something else could be going on. If most of these are present daily and it’s lasting more than 2 weeks, that’s another key factor.
Are they sleeping a lot more or a lot less than usual?
This varies for most of us too. But when there’s a big change in sleep, whether sleeping very little (less than 6 hours or trouble sleeping) or sleeping a whole and not being able to get out of bed.
Did they stop doing the things they loved?
We can sometimes not feel like doing things we like, but when we suddenly lose interest or pleasure in things we used to love, that could be an alarm. This would be a loss of interest in almost all activities, almost every day.
Do they seem to feel worthless or guilty all the time?
This would be a feeling that’s there everyday for most of the day and is a guilt about feeling sick.
Do they seem tired all time?
This isn’t just the feeling you get when you miss your morning coffee. It’s being too tired to do anything at all most of the day almost everyday. It makes it hard to function.
Are they having trouble focusing on anything?
This lack of focus would be debilitating. It makes it difficult to concentrate most of the time.
Do they have thoughts of hurting themselves or ending their life?
This is, of course the most alarming. It’s the one that needs immediate action even if you’re not 100% sure if they mean it or if they will actually go through with it.