With depression diagnoses increasing in children of all ages, the clinical director of Yellowstone Behavioral Health recommends adults and families know the signs of depression and Seasonal Affective …
With depression diagnoses increasing in children of all ages, the clinical director of Yellowstone Behavioral Health recommends adults and families know the signs of depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder as they make an effort to spend time with their loved ones this holiday season.
“We do see an increase in seasonal depression, because of staying indoors and, you know, lack of sunshine and everything in all ages,” Yellowstone Behavioral Health Clinical Director Dr. Janet Rosenberg said. “So, as far as suicide prevention, the best way to stay ahead of potential suicide is to hopefully have people in treatment and have them recognize the symptoms and the warning signs of depression and that’s in all ages.”
Seasonal depression can come as a result of lack of sunlight and outdoor activities as well as a reduction in social interaction. Rosenberg said that holidays can also be a stressor on people. The natural response is to retreat rather than engage the stressor according to Rosenberg.
“I think Covid had an impact on depression and mood and just the inability to be out in the sunshine and as active as we’d like to be, I think that plays a big role in it,” Rosenberg said.
She added that Covid has increased fear of getting sick which causes people to spend more time inside and in turn this has an impact on seasonal depression.
Rosenberg said to combat mental health issues it is important to find hobbies and activities and be involved with others.
“Find something that you like to do, set some goals for yourself, start a few projects, make them something that you enjoy doing or start a new hobby before the true depression sets in,” Rosenberg said. “If you anticipate that seasonal depression, get ahead of it.”
She said it’s important that family and friends are made aware of the situation and know the warning signs of suicide or depression.
At Yellowstone Behavioral Health clients are asked during safety planing if the family knows what the client looks like when they are depressed and what behaviors they exhibit. Examples of these warning signs include isolation, missing work, missing school or even not getting out of bed.
This winter and holiday season families can help each other, especially children and older family members like grandparents by scheduling family time like a game night or some event. Rosenberg recommends this once a week at minimum. She said that the interaction is not only beneficial but allows families to see each other face to face and be aware of possible warning signs.
“You’re able to track over time over the season a change in mood, and you’re likely to catch someone who’s going into depression because you’re used to seeing their smile and their affect,” Rosenberg said. “If that changes over time, you then would have time to intervene.”