A resource to support good mental health and wellbeing for the people of Qatar
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Early Signs of Mental Health Conditions

​Most people will feel low, anxious or irritable at some point in their lives and may go through periods of poor (worsening) mental health, especially during stressful times. However, if we experience symptoms or changes in behavior for a prolonged period that make daily life challenging, it may be an early sign that something is not right with our health.  

Noticing changes in the way ​we think, act or feel or recognizing those changes in people close to us is important to ensure we all get the help and support we need to be healthy and happy. 
Some common early ‘warning’ signs that a person is struggling with their mental health may include:

  • feeling irritable, stressed and teary
  • wanting to spend a lot of time alone and avoiding social situations
  • tiredness and exhaustion
  • finding it hard to relax or to concentrate
  • feeling sad or bad about ourselves
  • eating unhealthily and skipping meals 
  • having poor sleep patterns or getting up later than usual
  • feeling hopeless and helpless
  • having thoughts of harming yourself 
  • feeling worried, fearful, nervous or tense​
  • physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness or rapid heartbeat 

“A healthy person is usually soc​iable…I feel that isolation causes many mental problems or they might avoid people as a result of any mental health problem…”

These signs and symptoms can present themselves di​fferently in children and adolescents. Some common early ‘warning’ signs that a child or adolescent is struggling with their mental health are listed here.

Learn more about the symptoms of Mental Health Conditions including Depression and Anxiety and seek advice from a trained health professional as early as possible if you are concerned.

It is common for people who know someone experiencing mental health issues to worry about doing or saying the right thing. They may also experience their own feelings of anger, guilt or fear. You can learn more about the role of family and friends in helping people stay well and supporting them to get help. 

Factors effecting mental health wellbeing; 

A range of factors can have an effect on our mental health – some help ‘protect’ us and some put us at a higher ‘risk’ of developing a mental health condition. These factors include:

  • Biological factors such as genetics, hormones, physical health and diet
  • Psychological factors such as self-esteem, social connectedness and level of control over our life circumstances
  • Social factors such as living environment, relationships, occupation, culture and status​
Certain significant life events can put our mental health at risk and trigger stress including: 

  • Family or relationship breakdowns 
  • Losing a job or financial problems 
  • Health concerns for ourselves or a loved one 
  • Caring for a new baby (Mental Health in Women) ​
  • Traumatic events, including physical or emotional abuse​

"I lost a close person in my life and my reaction was delayed. I was ignoring that issue till it reached the limit… I knew I was depressed…"

Understanding the risk factors that impact our mental health can help us to recognize that not all elements are within our control. However, there are things we can all do to protect our mental health and minimize the risk​s. For example, if lack of physical activity puts us at a higher risk for physical and mental illness, then we can choose to protect ourselves by becoming more active, where possible.
Mental health risk factors and preventative actions 

​Factors that put our mental health and wellbeing at risk Preventative​​ measures
​Biological/Lifestyle Factors​​ ​​
  • Physical inactivity
  • Being overweight
  • Substance use and smoking
  • Genetic factors
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Release of stress hormones or changes in brain chemicals

  • Regular physical activity
  • Balanced nutritional intake 
  • Decreased use of tobacco and other substances
  • Good sleeping habits
  • Positive mental health
  • Annual physical check-ups
  • Reducing stress

​ ​Psychological Factors
  • Poor social networking
  • Isolation 
  • Abuse
  • Low self-esteem
  • Low perceived power
  • Loss of meaning or purpose in life

  • Participation in social activities 
  • Strong social networks
  • Supportive family structure
  • Positive self-esteem 
  • Feeling of trust
  • Feeling of control over life decisions

​Social Factors ​
  • Poverty
  • Discrimination 
  • Low social status
  • Dangerous work
  • Polluted and dangerous environment

  • Safe physical environments
  • Supportive economic and social conditions
  • Regular supply of nutritious food
  • Restricted access to tobacco and other substances
  • Health public policy and practice
  • Provision for meaningful employment and affordable housing


"If you or someone you know is concerned about their mental health, you're not alone. One in four people will have a mental health condition at some time in their lives." ​​​​​​​​​