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CMHA sees recent spike in people needing support with seasonal affective disorder

Click to play video: 'CMHA sees recent spike in people needing support with seasonal affective disorder' CMHA sees recent spike in people needing support with seasonal affective disorder
WATCH: Seasonal affective disorder more prominent with COVID-19 stresses – Nov 13, 2021

You may have heard of the ‘winter blues’ but in the midst of a pandemic, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) said it is seeing a spike in people reaching out for help.

There is no textbook way to pinpoint why someone experiences a run-in with mental health because every circumstance is different.

However, the CMHA mentioned that Canadians have a specific disadvantage.

Read more: New Calgary mental health clinic aims to fill gap in public system

The winter months come with cold, dark days, which can be dreadful.

Faith Bodner with the CMHA said January is notably the worst month for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression.

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“That less exposure to natural sunlight can affect chemicals in our brain — in particular, melatonin — and we can overproduce that and we can become lethargic,” said Bodner.

She added there was a huge spike in people looking for help and resources at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more: Ontario government offers $12M in mental health supports for front line health workers

With the addition of a snowy winter, numbers for inquiries continued to go up.

“We saw a quadrupling of contacts with clients from the first year of COVID to the second year and we’ve also had people reach out to us who’ve never reached out before during COVID and that’s actually five and six times greater than it was before,” said Bodner.

Some symptoms to look out for can be excessive sleeping, eating less, withdrawing from social activities or worsening hygiene.

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Most cases of SAD are not documented, according to Bodner.

For anyone needing support or wanting to know more information on SAD, there is more on the CMHA website.

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