.Letter to the Editor: Know the Signs, Save a Life

A letter to the editor of Good Times

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is characterized as a type of depression that is related to changes in seasons, typically tied to the start of fall and persisting into the winter months. We know that depressive disorders don’t take holidays, and this time of year can be stressful. For individuals who suffer from or are at risk for depression, though, the impact of holiday stresses and pressures can be much more severe than the momentary frustrations that almost everyone experiences. Typical symptoms of SAD, sometimes referred to as “winter depression,” may include the following (from the Mayo Clinic): feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day; a lack of energy; losing interest in activities you once enjoyed; feeling sluggish or agitated; oversleeping or having problems with sleeping; social withdrawal; feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty; substance abuse.

Contrary to a prevalent myth, suicide rates do not peak during the holiday season. However, depressed individuals are hardly immune from either depressive episodes or suicidal ideation during this time. If you or someone you love is struggling with depression and/or thinking about suicide, get help now. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 988, is a free resource, available 24 hours a day for anyone who is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. The Crisis Text Line is a free 24/7 text line where trained crisis counselors support individuals in crisis. Text “Jason” to 741741 to speak with a compassionate, trained Crisis Counselor. Confidential support 24/7, for free. For more information on ways to prevent, respond or act against bullying, visit stopbullying.org, which is a special initiative from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Jason Foundation (jasonfoundation.com) is another available resource. It is dedicated to the awareness and prevention of youth suicide through educational programs that equip youth, parents, educators and the community with the tools and resources to identify and assist at-risk youth. Many times, a young person will exhibit clear warning signs prior to an attempt. By knowing the warning signs, and knowing how to help, you could save a life. 

Scott Knight, The Jason Foundation


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