Mental Health Symptoms & Conditions

When it comes to your own mental health, you may feel confused, alone, or unsure how to recognize the need to ask for help. Here are a few examples of some common mental health symptoms and conditions to help you understand what might be happening with your emotions, thoughts and actions.

Examples of Mental Health Symptoms


It’s common to feel sad about things in life – the death of a friend or loved one, loss of a pet, moving houses or jobs can make you sad. Depression, though, is typically defined as a lack of positive emotions, feeling sad, low, or blue for at least 2 weeks. It can be caused by a sad event or by nothing at all. These are some common symptoms of depression:

  • Hopelessness, loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy, mood swings, sadness
  • Sleep disruptions – not sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Excessive hunger or loss of appetite
  • Being irritated or aggravated easily
  • Disconnecting from friends and family
  • Lack of concentration, slowness in activity or thoughts


It’s common to have stress or worry about an event, like meeting someone new, starting a new job or taking a test. Anxiety is a mental health condition that’s defined as excessive worry, occurring for more days than not, for a period of 6 months. These are some common symptoms of anxiety:

  • Feeling irritable, on edge or restless
  • Lack of concentration, racing thoughts or unwanted thoughts that are hard to get rid of
  • Fatigue or sweating
  • Excessive worry, feeling of impending doom that comes out of nowhere, insomnia, heart racing, shakiness or trembling
  • Physical sypmtoms like stomach pain or headaches

Also related to anxiety are obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder and phobias.

Bipolar Disorder

Life always has highs and lows, but bipolar disorder is a mental condition that causes significant mood swings from emotional highs (mania) to emotional lows (depression). These mood shifts often impact a person’s behavior. These are some common symptoms of bipolar disorder:

  • Mood swings that fluctuate between mania (high energy, but can also become irritable, unpredictable and take unnecessary risks) and depression (low energy, such as feeling like you can’t get out of bed)
  • For those suffering with bipolar disorder, the risk of suicide or suicidal thoughts is higher regardless of mania or depression

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Experiencing a terrifying event or witnessing one can lead to upsetting and uncontrollable thoughts about the event, nightmares, and severe anxiety. This reaction is common, but if it continues for months after the event, it may be post-traumatic stress disorder. These are some common symptoms of PTSD:

  • Reliving the event through flashbacks or unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the trauma
  • Avoiding thinking or talking about the trauma, or avoiding places, activities or people reminding you of the trauma
  • Negative changes in mood including:
    • Hopelessness about the future
    • Memory problems
    • Lack of interest in activities
    • Feeling numb
  • Changes in physical and emotional reactions:
    • Being easily startled or frightened
    • Always being on guard
    • Trouble sleeping or concentrating
    • Self-destructive behavior
  • For children 6 or younger, this can also include re-enacting trauma or aspects of trauma through play


A mental health condition that is most associated with a disconnect from reality. This can include seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there, severe annoyance or agitation, or incoherent speech.

  • Symptoms:
    • Seeing, hearing, feeling, thinking, or experiencing something that does not correspond to a reality perceived by others
  • Psychosis can be caused by:
    • Schizophrenia spectrum disorders
    • Severe mood disorders
    • Severe personality disorders
    • Substance use disorders