Mental illness is very common. Mood disorders like anxiety and depression, along with other mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, can strike anyone, no matter how "healthy" they might seem. And often, people with mental health problems have trouble asking for the help they need. That's why it's important to be able to recognize the symptoms of mental illness in your loved ones. If you recognize any of these signs in someone you know, they may be struggling.

1. Your loved one acts sick or complains about how they feel all the time.

Mental issues often manifest themselves as physical issues. If a friend or family member has been complaining about aches and pains that don't seem to have any obvious cause, they might actually be suffering from depression or a similar mental problem. Here are some of the most common physical signs of mental illness:

  • Fatigue
  • Stomachaches
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Teeth-grinding
  • Heart palpitations
  • Weight gain or loss

If your loved one has just started acting sick, they may actually have a physical illness that will go away on its own. But if it's been more than two weeks with no signs of improvement, the problem may be mental. Either way, it's important for them to get checked out by a doctor.

2. Your loved one seems apathetic, withdrawn, or sad.

Depression is one of the most common mental health problems out there, with 350 million people suffering from it every year. It also frequently goes hand-in-hand with other mental illnesses, so it's especially important to recognize the signs of depression in your loved ones. Mood changes are the most telltale symptoms of depression. If your loved one seems to want to avoid people, or if they seem lethargic or sad every time you see them, they may be in trouble. Depression doesn't always look like sadness, either. If your loved one seems bored, spaced-out, or disconnected, depression could be the cause.

3. Your loved one isn't acting like themselves.

Mental illness shows up a little bit differently in everybody, but a good rule of thumb is to trust your gut. If your loved one isn't acting like themselves, something probably isn't right. For instance, if your normally calm friend is acting angry all the time, or taking unnecessary risks, it's a good idea to talk to them to see how they're doing.

You can make a real difference in your loved ones' lives just by being observant and caring. If you think a friend or a family member may be suffering from mental illness, don't wait - reach out to them and encourage them to get help.