Mental health professionals sound alarm on Seasonal Affective Disorder

Impacts of Seasonal Affective Disorder

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(ABC 6 News) – This time of year can be joyful for many with the holidays rolling around, but for others, it’s when stress, anxiety and depression levels can skyrocket. It’s called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD for short.

“There is that known association this time of year, typically November, December [and] January, people can experience in their physical and mental well-being,” said Community Liaison for Zumbro Valley Health Center Josh Jensen.

While some associate those months with the holidays, for others, the cold can lead to a depression that lingers until the weather gets warm again.

“We have seen an increase in people talking about feeling depressed, experiencing an increase of anxiety… This time of year there is a correlation where we do have an increase in calls, crisis calls. People feeling stressed, stressed out about the holidays,” said Jensen.

Jensen adds the shorter days and cold weather can cause people to isolate themselves inside and be less social. Coupled with increased travel and spending money, stress levels can rise faster than the temperature drops.

“You’re having a hard time going out for a walk to try to force yourself to do it. Nutrition plays a tremendous roll into it, making sure we are not micronutrient deficient,” says Jensen.

Other tips Jensen has for people are continuing to speak with others regularly, and maybe even look into getting a therapy light that can counter act the low sunlight we take in. But most importantly, always reach out for help if you need it.

“If somebody’s functioning is being impacted. If they are having a hard time managing day to day responsibilities. If they are feeling moody so to speak reach out for help,” says Jensen.

If someone you know is struggling Jensen says one the best things you can do is be an active listener and make them feel understood.

If you are struggling and in crisis, please call the Mental Health Hotline at 988.

Here’s a list of other resources for mental health support:

Zumbro Valley Health Center

Southeast Regional Crisis Center

National Alliance on Mental Illness