8 signs that it might be time to talk about your mental health

Counselling can help people with a range of issues such as anxiety, depression, bereavement, trauma, family issues and low self-esteem along with so many other experiences. Sometimes, people feel unsure if what they are experiencing warrants therapy and I would like to reassure people that counsellors work with a wide range of people with so many different life experiences. Therefore, whatever your issue, there is a counsellor out there who can support you.

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Although it is normal throughout life to have ups and downs some signs might indicate that speaking with a professional could be beneficial. The aim of this article is to present some of the signs that might suggest that it could be time to speak to a therapist. Together with a therapist you can explore what you are going through, make sense of your experiences and in turn, this can help you to move forward with confidence and hope for the future.


Eight signs it might be time to talk to a counsellor 

1. Your mental health is having a detrimental impact on your physical health

It could be a sign that something is out of balance if your eating habits or sleep schedule has changed recently. Mental health can have an impact on sleep, exercise and eating habits which can all have an impact on your physical health. Also, it is a common symptom of anxiety to experience symptoms such as stomach issues, heart palpitations or dizziness.

2. Engaging in unhealthy coping mechanisms

Often when people are not sure how to cope with their trauma, they turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol, food, unhealthy relationships, or avoidance of the issue. If coping mechanisms are having a detrimental impact on how you feel, relationships or work life then it could be a red flag for a deeper issue. Working with a therapist can help you understand the underlying reasons for engaging in unhealthy coping mechanisms and can help you find a way of coping that works for you.

3. Relationships are impacted

This means that you might be isolating from the people around you, avoiding people or feel anxious to be around people you used to enjoy spending time with. Alternatively, it could be that you feel anxious to be alone or separated from loved ones.  

4. Loss of interest in parts of life that you used to enjoy

When people are struggling with their mental health they might stop engaging in hobbies, exercise, healthy habits or activities that they used to enjoy. This could be due to low energy, feelings of low self-worth or a lack of motivation. It can help people to explore any underlying reasons for this with a counsellor which could help to break the cycle.

5. Overwhelmed by emotions

It could be that you experience intense feelings of anger, irritation, sadness or extreme mood swings that you find difficult to control. These feelings might have an impact on your daily life or relationships. It could impact how you are at work or with your family and friends. Working with a therapist can help you to regulate your emotions so that they feel less overwhelming.

6. Excessive worry or rumination

It could be a sign that you might benefit from professional support when you feel unable to stop worrying and keep going over and over the same issue without any resolution. This can have a detrimental impact on other areas of your life making it hard to concentrate or can have an impact on your sleep and physical health.

7. Feeling hopeless or helpless

It is important that if you feel hopeless or helpless you seek support as this can be a symptom of depression. A therapist can create a safe environment for you to open up about these feelings which over time can help you to feel empowered and in control.  

8. You have experienced something traumatic and you are struggling to cope

This could be something that happened recently or an experience from the past that is impacting you in the here and now. It could also be that you are not sure how to articulate how this is impacting you, but you have an awareness that something isn’t quite right. A counsellor can help you to make sense of trauma and can help you to move forward.  


I hope this article explains when it might be time to speak with a therapist but if you are struggling it could be that you start by speaking to a trusted loved one or your GP. Whatever you feel ready for, it is important to do what feels right for you. It could also be that you know something is not quite right but you are not sure how to articulate what the problem is, and this is ok too.

A counsellor can help you to order your thoughts and empathise with your experiences. Counsellors and psychotherapists help people with a range of difficulties and it is important to find the right therapist for you.  

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Durham DH1 & Newton Aycliffe DL5
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Written by Megan Riley, MBACP (reg.), MSc CounsPsych
Durham DH1 & Newton Aycliffe DL5

I’m a person-centred counsellor working with adults online. I work to support people to cope with many issues such as trauma, loss, anxiety, depression, bereavement, loneliness and low self-esteem. If you would like to chat about how I could help you, please feel free to get in touch.

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