Psychology Month 2024: Week Two

Published On: February 8, 2024

Kevin Kristjanson is back for the second instalment in CSCM’s Psychology Month blog series. If you missed Week One, you can find it here.

Early Warning Signs of Mental Health Challenges

Mental health challenges can present differently for each person, but the early warning signs are often similar. Watch for changes in your thoughts, emotions, or behaviours relative to what’s normal for you. Below are some common signs of different mental health concerns:


  • Very low or very elevated mood
  • Feeling of worthlessness, hopelessness, guilt, or self-criticism
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Irritability, anger
  • Difficulties initiating or following through on plans and goals
  • Changes in sleep
  • Changes in appetite
  • Problems with memory, concentration, attention, organization
  • Thoughts of, or plans related to, dying, suicide, or self-harm


  • Excessive worry
  • Panic
  • Intrusive, uncontrollable, and distressing thoughts or images
  • Fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulties sleeping
  • Specific fears or phobias (e.g., social situations, health, animals, flying, heights, etc.)

Substance Use and Addictions

  • Continued use of a substance, or engaging in a behaviour (e.g., gambling, shopping) despite negative consequences
  • Unsuccessful attempts to control, cut back, or stop the behaviour
  • Restlessness or irritability when making these attempts
  • Lying about or hiding the behaviour from family or friends
  • Using the behaviour to escape problems such as depression or anxiety

Check out the Canadian Psychological Association’s “Psychology Works” Fact Sheets for evidence-based information and advice for a range of mental health challenges.

Next week: Finding a Psychologist That’s Right For You