Dealing with spring depression

Published 7:00 am Friday, February 2, 2018

It is a common myth that people become more depressed around the holidays. However, according to studies in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, depressive and suicidal behaviors actually spike in the spring, after the holidays are over.

While men make up the majority of suicide victims, both genders experience a suicide peak in the spring. Age also plays a role in this spike, as “the suicide rate among younger people [is] increased in spring,” the study states. According to the study, researchers have found that the increase of sunlight, air pollutants, and humidity, among other things, may be contributing factors.

While there is very little anyone can do to change the weather, there are several things that can help people cope with depression in the New Year.

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According to Jack Marino, Trauma Specialist at the Gulf Coast Mental Health Center, the most important thing to do for anyone struggling with depression is to develop a strong support system. Find friends who are understanding and supportive. While family members often provide good support for those suffering with depression, that is unfortunately not the case for everyone. Keep an eye out for friends or family members who are overly negative and consider ending toxic relationships.

Sticking to a schedule on a daily basis is important – even on the weekend. “Consistency is key,” Marino says.

If possible, go to sleep and wake at about the same time each day. Depression can often cause a change in appetite, however it is important to eat at least two healthy meals every day. Exercise every day and go outside to “feel the breeze on your face,” Marino says.

While consistency is important, it is also good to experiment and to be spontaneous sometimes.

“Do something random. Go on a picnic,” Marino says.

Mindful meditation is a helpful practice that is unfortunately often overlooked. According to Marino, mindful listening, controlled breathing, and other aspects of meditation can be very beneficial to those fighting depression.

For those dealing with depression or suicidal thoughts this spring, help is out there.

“You don’t have to be alone. There are resources you can access,” Marino says. Marino recommends going anywhere that is most comfortable – whether that is at a clinic or a local church.

The Gulf Coast Mental Health Center is open every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., for those seeking professional help. The clinic can be reached at 601-799-1511. An emergency crisis line is available after-hours, on weekends, and on holidays, and can be reached at 1-800-681-0798.