Navigating Seasonal Affective Disorder during colder months


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – As daily temperatures drop and the sun starts to set earlier, local mental health experts said this time can be difficult for many.

For some, they’re diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). CoxHealth Psychologist Dr. Curtis Mattson said while many people may not enjoy the colder months, some people experience changes that are significant enough to pay close attention to.

“Sometimes it’s a combination of us, and the people around us, saying you’re not being you,” Mattson said. “It’s ‘I’m having trouble getting out of bed and showering and being ready for work,’ and ‘I’m having trouble after work making it to events for my kids.'”

Mattson said it’s important to get help from a medical provider.

“They may refer you on to mental health, they may refer you on to behavioral health, they may refer you to medication management, they also may refer for light therapy,” Mattson said.

Burrell Behavioral Health Systems Director of Clinical Support and Retention, Sandy Parisi, said about three million Americans struggle with SAD every year.

She said there are a few things everyone can do during the colder months.

“Maybe a daily walk, let that sun hit your skin,” Parisi said. “Any time you can stay in a routine, keep your routine good.”

Mattson said he encourages people to continue to engage with others, even if it is virtually.

Both Parisi and Mattson said they encourage people to reach out and get resources early.

Here is a statement from Burrell Behavioral Health on how to get help,

“We encourage anyone who is struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder or their mental health to give us a call at 417-761-5000, or to visit our walk-in Connection Center at 1300. E. Bradford Parkway, Building A, in Springfield. If they are in a crisis, they can call our 24/7 Crisis Line at 1-800-494-7355 or visit our Behavioral Crisis Center, which is also open 24/7/365, at 800 S. Park Ave. in Springfield.”

Burrell Behavioral Health

If you are thinking of hurting or killing yourself, you can call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Please get help immediately.

You Matter: Find mental health resources and stories on FOX4.

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