Tri-state health experts urge people to seek help if seasonal mental health issues arise
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – Seasons change and mental health professionals say you might see changes in your mood too.
According to the Archives of General Psychiatry, 50% of all mental illnesses begin around age 14, and 75% begin in their mid-twenties.
“Mental health care is a very unique and individualized journey,” said Kerselia Terry-Patterson, academic outreach coordinator at Indiana Southwestern University.
She is a Certified Mental Health Instructor for Youth and Adults by the National Council of Mental Wellbeing.
During the fall and winter months, seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, can appear in anyone you know, including children.
According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD can lead to problems if left untreated, including but not limited to social withdrawal, substance abuse, and even suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
Terry-Patterson says one of the things she teaches in her mental health class is “what is typical behavior versus what might be a mental health issue.” She says parents and young adults should be aware of hormonal changes, social media influences and other factors that could alter a person’s overall mood.
Stephanie Hirons, director of behavioral health services for Ascension St. Vincent in Evansville, says there are a wide range of mental health issues similar to your physical health, and anyone can experience them.
“You can have poor mental health without having a diagnosed mental illness,” Hirons said. “So we all have periods of time in our lives when things just aren’t going well.”
Hirons tells parents to create a safe space for communication with their children.
“A misconception parents have is, you know, I don’t want to ask about depression and suicide because I don’t want to put that idea in my kid’s head,” Hirons said. “But the trick is to openly talk about those concerns as if that’s what encourages a child to seek help when they need it.”
Terry-Patterson says people who want to learn more about signs, symptoms and mental health care resources should contact their primary care physician or a mental health specialist (i.e. family therapist, school counsellor, etc.).
If you have questions about mental health, a free Community Forum and Mental Health Fair is taking place Saturday at the CK Newsome Center in Evansville from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Click here to register for the Mental Health Fair.
If you or someone you know has seasonal affective disorder or needs other mental health care, contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or your doctor.
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