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Battling Depression, Other Mental Health Complications in the Winter Months

The winter months, especially late into the winter, can have a heavy impact on those dealing with depression, anxiety or any other mental health issues. The weather gets cold and the sun doesn’t come out. So the days can feel long and dreary.

About five percent of people experience these so–called ‘winter blues’, and it’s about four times more common in women than it is in men.

“When we think of winter blues, just kind of that lulling of mood, if you will, after the holidays when the daylight hours are shorter, that desire to stay home, curl up in a blanket, not be as active, maybe not finding as much interest in things we liked before,” says Dr. Alisha Thibault, a general psychiatrist for Northeast Michigan Community Mental Health.

We spoke today about some of the ways that you can overcome mental health challenges in the cold months of the year. Dr. Thibault says one of the biggest things to remember is routine.

“Getting up at the same time each day, going to bed at the same time each day, making sure they’re getting regular sleep,” she said. “Eating a healthy diet that’s balanced, protein at all three levels, so that’s breakfast lunch and dinner, also focusing on foods that are fortified with certain nutrients, specifically vitamin D.”

While the winter months may be hard to deal with, nobody has to go through them alone. In northeast Michigan, there are ample resources for those who need them.

“We have people available at all hours of the day, be it through our direct phone line that we’re able to take calls, walk–in services, or if it’s afterhours when our building is closed, the emergency department, they’re able to reach out to our organization and help get our individuals plugged in and connected to the care that they need,” Thibault said.

The idea that someone is going through something alone is a common misconception, and there are people out there who want to help.

“There’s a lot of work that’s being done to help normalize and connect people who are experiencing these types of conditions,” Thibault said. so being able to get individuals connected with others who are going through things that are very similar to what they’re experiencing has been helpful.”

If you are experiencing any type of mental health issues, here are some resources:

Northeast Michigan Community Mental Health can be reached at (989) 356-2161.

The new Suicide and Crisis Lifeline number is 988.