For some people, the holiday season brings negative connotations, not the joyous feelings the media promotes. This “festive” time of year reminds some of losses in their lives, such as the death of loved ones and traditions long gone. As the holiday music blares on the radio, festive events and gatherings take place, and the media promotes a picture of the “perfect holiday season”, it can be difficult season for many, and one that may trigger the holiday blues and lead to depression.
The following list provides those who may have lost a loved one, some ideas for dealing with the holiday blues:
- Get back to nature. A brisk walk helps many people who are feeling overwhelmed feel better.
- Begin a new tradition. Plan a family outing or vacation instead of spending the holidays at home.
- Don’t give in to holiday pressure. It is okay to leave an event if you aren’t comfortable.
- Volunteer and become involved. Work at a soup kitchen, organize a gift drive or simply help the neighbor dig the snow out of his driveway.
- Give in a non-monetary way for a worthwhile cause.
- Try and focus on what you have rather than what you don’t have.
The partners working on Millennium’s Crisis Stabilization Project are experts in the field of Behavioral Health. They are trained to identify typical signs and symptoms of depression and are able to work to assist clients to develop strategies to assist them. Some typical signs of depression can include feelings of sadness, hopelessness and/or guilt. In addition, people experiencing depression may display angry outbursts, and/or a loss of interest in friends, family and their favorite activities. Their thought patterns may be disrupted as well making it hard to remember facts, concentrate, and/or make decisions. In severe cases of depression, delusions or hallucinations may occur, or even thoughts or attempts to self-harm.
Some physical problems associated with depression typically include a decrease in energy, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, changes in sleep patterns (too much or too little), sexual problems, and unexplained aches and pains. Outward behaviors include withdrawal from social situations, self-isolating behavior, substance abuse and missing work, school or other commitments.
Millennium is working closely with Crisis Services on the Crisis Stabilization Project. Crisis Services operates a 24-hour crisis hotline for anyone of any age who is experiencing a personal, emotional or mental health crisis. A professional counselor or trained paraprofessional is on the line 7 days a week and is trained in crisis intervention, suicide assessment and intervention, supportive counseling and are experts in information and referral to services in our community. Crisis Services is our community’s safety net and their crisis first responders are available to respond 24 hours a day. CEO Jessica Pirro indicates that the Millennium Crisis Stabilization Project will help “take a comprehensive review at services responding to crisis in the Western New York area and strategically enhance a response that provides consistent services and availability of care 24 hours a day. This project provides a look into the valuable work provided by crisis centers in our community by intervening before it escalates to the point of needing higher levels of care.”
Pirro also adds that anyone who is in crisis or if you are concerned for a friend, family member or loved one can call Crisis Services at 834-3131 any time 24hours a day; seven days a week. They are always available so you are never alone.
Submitted by: Andrea J. Wanat, MA, CPP, behavioral health project manager