By SchemaByte | From | On Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Armand Gautier [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsOf course you want physically active, skilled prepping partners. You also want someone that’s not going to go nuts after a month of canned food and no sunlight. While this list doesn’t guarantee it, we definitely need to consider mental health as part of network selection criteria.

A lot of preppers go out of their way to make sure they include people with very specific skills in their survival network. That’s commendable, but short-term drills and weekend camping trips don’t indicate that your friends and family will be suitable for close quarter living after TEOTWAWKI.

It’s difficult to separate the over-generalizations of the psychologists from just normal human behavior, especially given that we as a people are unfit mentally as it is. We’re zoo animals, insane by environment, to start with. Nonetheless, some people who get along in the world we live in now probably won’t be able to function in the more difficult world after a significant event. Some people just don’t deal with stress well, and others just cover up the crazy they’ve been growing inside.

It’ll be far easier to survive with reasonable, rational people – no matter the skill sets involved. Per the Mayo Clinic, most mental illnesses don’t get better on their own even without a disaster. Certainly, suggest to people that they seek to improve their state through nutrition, exercise, meditation, and counseling, but don’t count on that happening down the road. Mental fitness is harder to acquire than physical fitness.

Here’s some quick tips on signs your potential prepping partners won’t be very pleasant post-apocalyptic roommates.

5 Indications the Potential Prepping Partner is Easily Stressed

Look for indicators that the person is continually stressed as it is; clearly if so you should be concerned about their resilience in extreme circumstances.

  1. Nervous mannerisms like continually biting the fingernails or tapping a pen demonstrate stress (or perhaps too much caffeine). If you’ve never seen the person just relaxed without alcohol or something else being involved, be wary.
  2. Sweating or shaking also indicate short-term stress, and if that’s always happening then there’s cause for concern.
  3. Continually abrasive behavior like excessive aggression, crying, and impatience are behavioral indicators of short-term stress. So is restlessness, although that’s perhaps not abrasive.
  4. Decreased immunity to seasonal illnesses like colds and flu is a symptom of long-term stress.
  5. Long-term physical illnesses like hypertension and asthma can be associated with long-term stress, but could be due to other reasons.

9 Indications of Possible Mental Illness in Prepping Partners

Don’t stop there though. Make sure you don’t have someone who’s already losing it on your hands.

  1. Look for drug or alcohol abuse, which is often associated with mental illness and at least indicates an inability to cope with the world as it is now. On top of things possibly turning quite nasty if an addict can’t get a fix.
  2. Listen for continual inability to cope with life’s daily challenges, a sign of mental illness. Look especially for signs of this increasing, which is an indication of a corresponding psychological problem gaining dominance.
  3. Pay attention to wild mood swings (manic behavior) and grandiosity, which generally indicate instability.
  4. Long term depression, sadness, or irritability is an indicator of mental illness and of course would be an ugly thing to live with.
  5. Confused thinking or the inability to concentrate, when continually present, can be a sign of mental health issues.
  6. Extreme fear, anxiety, and anger is another indicator of mental illness and also indicates that the person is hardly able to deal with the unrealized and possible threats, much less the real deal. These are, in my opinion, the people most likely to become violent with provocation.
  7. Social isolationism is given by WebMD and the Mayo Clinic as a sign of mental illness, but of course keep in mind that preparedness includes a high degree of privacy for operational security – don’t confuse the two. For the most part, keep an eye out for increasing isolationism but don’t automatically exclude introverts.
  8. Unexplained physical problems, especially when there are many of them, is a common theme among the mentally ill.
  9. Continual fatigue is an indicator of mental illness or a physical health problem, also a sign that the person won’t be able to cope with the higher physical demands of complete self-sufficiency if they become necessary.

There’s of course a lot of other behavior and tendencies that are repugnant, even if the potential prepping partner will be able to mentally function. It’s best to get to know people extremely well before you agree to joining up efforts, providing Get Out of Dodge backup plans for each other, and disclosing your preps.

Resources & More Reading

  1. Mental Health Warning Signs –
  2. Mental illness: Symptoms –
  3. Coping with the causes of stress can help you avoid the physical symptoms of stress –
  4. How to Spots Signs of Mental Illness –
  5. Signs of Mental Illness & the Family –
  6. Signs and Symptoms of Stress –

News Reporter
RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with over seven years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.