Happy Holidays?

Welcome to the holidays! Thanksgiving had it’s moment and next month there will be Hannukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s and Yule (just to name a few). So we should all be merry and bright-spirited for this joyous time of the year. Right?

Something you may not know is that many Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that is seasonal and usually occurs around the holidays. It’s estimated that 4 to 6 percent of Americans have winter depression and 10 to 20 percent have a mild form of SAD, according to American Family Physician.

SAD is more common in women than men. Symptoms include weight changes, insomnia and poor diet among other issues. People often start feeling depressed in fall with symptoms lasting until spring. It’s rare that people experience symptoms in summer.

Why does this matter?

Just be aware that there might be people around you that are struggling with SAD or you yourself might be experiencing SAD. There is a problem in this country regarding the discussion of mental health. Mental health is just as important as physical health and is seldom discussed. We need to be having these discussions and bringing to light the problems and struggles that many Americans and people around the globe are facing.

This holiday season, think about SAD and be aware of it. Discuss it with family members and friends to shed light on the issue. Many people are in the dark about mental health, including their own. There is a stigma associated with mental health and the more we talk about mental health, the more we can chip away at that stigma.

As always, if you’re experiencing any symptoms or you’re worried about your mental health, talk to a mental health professional as soon as possible. If you’re having a psychiatric emergency, call 911. On campus we have many resources, including CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services). Don’t forget to talk to your friends and family, being open and honest about how you are feeling can help. Happy holidays, collegiettes!