People with SAD can seek help here in Prince Rupert.

SAD? Let there be light

With little more than seven hours of daylight in Prince Rupert at this time of year holiday cheer may be tough to come by

With little more than seven hours of daylight in Prince Rupert at this time of year holiday cheer may be tough to come by, but there is hope.

Being aware of your mood and how others around you are reacting to the darkness and the pressures of the season may be the first step. Clinical educator at Northern Health, Damen DeLeenheer, offers some resources to those suffering from seasonal depression.

“The demands that many place on themselves to attend to and meet the expectations of others may contribute to anxiety and stress. On top of all of this the shorter days and longer nights can lead to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) making the holiday season even more difficult to enjoy,” DeLeenheer says.

The shortest day has passed but the darkness still seeps in leaving some people feeling SAD. The signs and symptoms for SAD may include low energy, increased appetite, weight gain, trouble concentrating and sleeplessness.

At the Prince Rupert Health Unit’s Mental Health and Addiction Community Program there is additional support for people suffering from SAD.

Kelsey Basso is the program support for public health nursing as well as mental health and addictions. She says there are seven SAD lamps at the clinic that counsellors lend to their clients.

“It’s basically a sunshine lamp that’s supposed to mimic the effect of the sun during winter months when people have SAD. If they spend a certain amount of time under this lamp it’s supposed to help their illness as well as counselling. Each of our counsellors has one that they lend out.” Light therapy lamps can also be purchased online with prices ranging from $50 to $250.

Clinical trials have tested light treatment for effectiveness. The American Journal of Psychiatry published the results of a trial in 2006 that compared light treatment with antidepressant medication and found that patients who used light therapy responded earlier to the treatment but other than that both treatments had the same effect on the patient.

DeLeenheer says that using the sun lamp is one way to help people struggling with SAD. “In regards to seasonal blues, again it’s more than just the light. That’s one part of it. Social isolation can be another part.”

The Mental Health and Addiction Community Program doesn’t see higher numbers around the holidays, according to Basso. “People who are depressed stay in their homes and it’s not really something we see a big uptake in.” But due to New Year’s resolutions she says the clinic will see a spike in patients with an alcohol addiction.

Although some North Coast residents may feel the obvious effects of SAD, “For holiday blues it’s such a multi-faceted issue that affects can come from so many areas of your life,” DeLeenheer says.

Feeling blue may be attributed to overindulgence in sweets or alcohol, financial stress, or even the pressure to recreate popular culture’s version of an ideal holiday.

What should you do? If you think you’re experiencing seasonal blues DeLeenheer recommends that you ask yourself these questions: over the past few weeks have you experienced little interest in doing things? Have you been feeling down, depressed or hopeless?

If your answer is yes for more than half of the days consider getting additional support.

Speak with your nurse practitioner or family doctor or call the Northern Health community mental health and addictions programs and ask to speak with one of the nurses or clinicians.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Such sweetness with all this candy. Dylan Kennedy 7, with his mom Kerri Kennedy volunteer at the Halloween Fest Committee event to bag candy for students in SD 52 on Oct. 19. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
How sweet it is

Bags of candy were assembled by more than 25 Halloween Fest Volunteers for distribution to S.D. 52

Ashley Wilson officer in charge of Prince Rupert Marine Communications and Traffic Services said radio officers in Prince Rupert are the eyes and ears of the Canadian Coast Guard with the job as an ocean first responder being like a 911 dispatcher. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Coast Guard calling for radio officers

Deadline for radio officers applications extended specifically for Prince Rupert and area residents

FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More calls come in for Cullen’s removal as NDP candidate

Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs demand Cullen’s removal. Ellis says, There’s no place in B.C. for racism

An election tussle has now erupted over the long-dismantled Skeena Cellulose pulp mill on Watson Island, shown here in a 2013 photo. (File photo The Northern View)
Wilkinson, Horgan tagged over pulp mill file and legal battle

Case dates back to attempt to re-open closed Skeena Celluose pulp mill

ANBT 2021 is still in the planning, Peter Haugan event organizer said on Oct. 13. In the 2020 ANBT, Hydaburg’s T.J. Young drives along the baseline against Prince Rupert’s Brady Johnston. Hydaburg would defeat P.R, but fell to New Aiyansh in the next round. (The Northern View file photo)
All Native Basketball Tournament 2021 still in the planning

“If we cannot run it with our fans, we cannot run the tournament” - Peter Haugan

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

Most Read