How to spot depression and anxiety in men

There are some obvious and not-so-obvious warning signs to watch out for when it comes to determining whether the man in your life is okay.

Here are the most glaring red flags.

Seeming overly anxious or worried

Everyone experiences ups and downs in life which can bring on stress or anxiety.

However if this is out of character, or if it seems like an an overreaction to a small incident, it could be something to talk to them about.

Becoming withdrawn or isolating themselves

This depends on their normal personality qualities, but generally, becoming withdrawn can be a big indicator there are other problems at play.

If they’re usually a social person who enjoys regular activities such as sports or time with friends but suddenly stops being social, it could be cause for concern.

Introverts who try to isolate themselves by shying away from more social interaction than normal could also be in need of help.

Having emotional outbursts

Sudden and dramatic changes in a person’s mood can often indicate that their overall emotional state is being affected by other worries.

Extreme distress or anger, or just general dramatic behaviour that seems out of character, are warning signs.

Participating in reckless or self-destructive behaviour

A sudden urge to engage in activities that could be regarded as dangerous, or a newfound penchant for excessive drugs and alcohol are common indicators of depression.

Losing interest in caring for their health usually means a person is trying to escape from the worries of their daily life.

Having trouble sleeping

Worries often seem to feel more compounded at night when we lay down to rest. This is when our brain gets to focus on what we’re thinking and if a person is stressed, it can cause sleeping problems.

If someone is staying awake for long periods or constantly tossing and turning, chances are they are dealing with some emotional turmoil.

Weight or appetite changes

This can work both ways – either rapid weight loss or weight gain.

Many people use food as a way to take back some control in their lives and fluctuating weight is one of the warning signs of a mental illness.

What to do if your partner is displaying these signs

Most of the time, it can be really difficult to open up the conversation of mental health whether it be with our partner, friend, colleague or family. The subject is best approached with caution and care.

Asking how they’ve been feeling lately is a great way to start. Perhaps say you’ve noticed that they’ve looked a little down and that you wanted to see if you could help.

It’s important to treat the conversation as a natural topic to talk about, express that everyone goes through ups and downs and what they’re experiencing is normal.

If you do establish that your partner is not okay, the next step is to be there for ongoing support and provide some options for further help.

If the matter is urgent and you are worried they might harm themselves or someone else, please call 000 immediately.

For less urgent matters, there are many services available in Australia that a person can turn to, such as Lifeline and Beyond Blue which provide free, over-the-phone counselling with trained experts.

Samantha Spafford is the founder and psychologist at Positive Mind Works.