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Improving the availability of inclusive mental health
services for all residents in Clay, Platte and Ray counties.

Don’t Be SAD This Winter

While many people have heard of the Holiday Blues, a lesser known issue is Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

The two are actually connected, with the broader, more widespread SAD often being part of or a major cause for Holiday Blues.

Both involve forms of depression and both are often underestimated as “passing” issues. For many, this can be true. The stress of holiday events, family visits and spending can combine to bring very real but usually short-term problems.

It can also be symptomatic of larger, long-term issues like depression, which is similar to SAD. Generally, SAD is most often connected to the reduction of sunlight during the winter months. This has all kinds of effects, including lowering serotonin levels, production of Vitamin D, changing sleep patterns and more, all of which can impact mood and depression.

There are countless thoughts on solving or reducing these problems, some of which may be questionable. The easiest may be to simply bundle up and go for a walk. Especially in this area, even the most bitter winter will offer breaks of sunny, relative warm days. Twenty to 30 minutes even once a week will help, sometimes immensely.

Related to this is exercise – something that causes an uptick of heart rate, maybe a light sweat – can be an option as well.

For those who find it impossible to get outside, light therapy is a possibility. Although there are a lot of questionable products, those that most mimic the full spectrum of sunlight are thought to help many with SAD.

Fortunately, many sources are available to help. Two web pages we might suggest to start are one offered by the National Institute of Mental Health and one by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

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The Clay, Platte, Ray Mental Health Board of Trustees
3100 NE 83rd Street, #2700, Kansas City, MO 64119 • (816) 468-1772 •
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