Mental Illnesses
Possible Signs and Symptoms
The Network's Major Concerns
Who Else Is Involved with Us?
What You Can Do
Resource Materials
Suggested Reading
More Information  

Who are those
with a mental illness?

We are your brother
your sister
the man
across the street--
for one in every
five families
is dealing with
a mental illness.

To contact the Chairperson:
Alan Johnson
Write E-mail

The Mental Illness Network
A Network within the
United Church of Christ
in affiliation with
Disabilities Ministries, U.C.C.
Phone: 866-822-8224 ext. 3845


Not all symptoms occur in a person with mental illness. Although individuals and societies vary as to what is "normal," a person with a mental illness should be evaluated if there is a change in behavior. Never hesitate to call a physician to share these concerns, just as you would for any illness.

Seek medical evaluation if some of these exaggerated behaviors begin to appear.


  • self-destructive actions
  • abuse of alcohol of other drugs
  • withdrawal or distrust of friends and family
  • short temper and argumentative
  • loss of interest in daily activities
  • inability to concentrate
  • glazed or faraway stare and/or bizarre posturing
  • decline in academic, athletic or job performance
  • deterioration of personal appearance and hygiene
  • inappropriate dressing for weather or occasion
  • excessive changes in sleeping or wakefulness
  • excessive changes in appetite--too little or too much
  • excessive seeking of approval
  • excessive writing of nonsensical or disconnected thoughts and words
  • rapid, loud, disorganized speech
  • boundless energy, enthusiasm, and need for activity
  • impulsive and/or erratic behavior


  • extreme or unusual sensitivity to light/colors/noise
  • believing his or her thoughts are controlled by others
  • fear of touching or being touched by others or things
  • changed sense of self (believing body parts are diseased, detached, hanging, etc.)
  • sense of body boundaries deteriorating
  • hallucinations: either auditory (hearing voices) and/or visual (seeing something that is non-existent)
  • certain clothing having unusual meaning


  • extreme anxiety over the smallest things
  • recurring attacks of panic or anxiety
  • extreme guilt over "past sins" or bad conduct
  • extreme pessimism and/of unceasing depression
  • rapid switch to severe depression
  • extremely low self-esteem
  • inability to express or feel any emotion
  • loss of motivation
  • poor concentration
  • suicidal thoughts
  • paranoia towards everyone and everything
  • delusions of power/wealth/knowledge
  • grandiose ideas
  • poor reasoning, memory, and judgment
  • exaggerated, blunted or inappropriate emotional response (laugh/cry)

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