Seasonal Affective Disorder affects many people this time of year

Reporter: Therese O'Shea
Published: Updated:
Seasonal affective disorder affects many people this time of the year. (CREDIT: WINK News)

It’s that time of the year again when the sights and sounds of the season are everywhere you turn.

From the poinsettias to the trees, lights and pressures to find the perfect season, it is also the time of the year when cases of depression spike.

Two out of five people in the U.S. live with depression.

Millions are especially impacted by seasonal affective disorder or S.A.D.

Cooler temps, less daylight, the holidays all contribute to seasonal affective disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder affects one in 20 people in the U.S.

“Putting the right people around you, putting positive people around you. Those things are gonna bring us joy, fulfillment, contentment,” said James West, a licensed mental health counselor and president of Total Life Counseling Center.

Doctors suggest spending 30 to 60 minutes out in the sun each day while also making sure to get enough vitamin D3 to combat depression.

Aromatherapy, particularly sandalwood oil, tea tree oil, lavender oil and lemon oil are among the known mood boosters.

Working out at least three minutes is a proven depression fighter. Experts say yoga, tai chi, walking, swimming and running are particularly helpful.

If these methods don’t work for you, when should you see a doctor?

“If you’re depressed, you’re not wanting to eat right, you’re not wanting to go to work, you’re not wanting to go out with friends, you’re isolating,” West said.

If depressed feelings last more than a week, it’s time to get professional help.

Mental health resources

If you are struggling or if you know a loved one who is in trouble, there is help and you are not alone. There is free and immediate support available 24/7. Below is a list of important resources:

In An Emergency

If you or a loved one is in immediate danger call 911. It is important to notify the operator that it is a psychiatric emergency and ask for an officer trained in crisis intervention or trained to assist people experiencing a psychiatric emergency.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

If you or someone you know is in crisis—whether they are considering suicide or not—please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.

Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-741

Connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message.

National Domestic Violence Hotline – Call 800-799-SAFE (7233)

Trained expert advocates are available 24/7 to provide confidential support to anyone experiencing domestic violence or seeking resources and information. Help is available in Spanish and other languages.

National Sexual Assault Hotline – Call 800-656-HOPE (4673)

Connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area that offers access to a range of free services. Crisis chat support is available at Online Hotline. Free help, 24/7.

Below are mental health resources available to Southwest Floridians at the national and local level.

David Lawrence Center (Collier County)

SalusCare (Lee County)

(NAMI) National Alliance on Mental Illness, Collier County

(NAMI) National Alliance on Mental Illness, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry Counties

The National Alliance for Caregiving offers a free handbook
Circle of Care: A Guidebook for Mental Health Caregivers

Collier County Mental Health Court

Lee County Mental Health Court

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Local Support Groups: Anxiety and Depression Association of America

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Mental Health and Addiction Insurance Help)

Local veterans resource: Home Base SWFL

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