PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)– While the holidays may be filled with cheer and happy times for some, that may not be the case for all. For some people, the holidays can be an emotionally exhausting and difficult time.
The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) reported that 64% struggling with diagnosed mental health conditions said their symptoms worsen during the holidays.
Kristina Williams, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for life management said there are some signs to look out for, and while feelings of depression and sadness may be heightened by the holidays it is important to constantly check in with loved ones year-round, as after the holidays when things slow down is when most people typically struggle.
“Signs could be as simple as someone acting off, sleeping too much, overeating, or choosing poor coping mechanisms like alcohol or drugs,” said Williams.
She also said that being open and honest and engaging in conversations surrounding mental health could help a loved one get the help they need.
“Being direct is key, and having the courage to talk about it,” she said.
When it comes to dealing with the loss of a loved one, Williams said the first step is acknowledging the holidays will be different.
“It is so important to discuss the holiday traditions and set boundaries. Maybe you want to continue the tradition to honor the person, maybe you don’t want to do it at all. Or maybe you want to create new traditions,” she said.
Williams stressed it’s also important to check in with yourself if you are feeling depression or sadness and set personal boundaries for yourself and communicate that to family.
“You may not want to put up the Christmas tree this year, and that is okay,” she said.
For those battling addiction and substance abuse, Williams said the holidays may be even more difficult as they may have more access to items they shouldn’t due to holiday gatherings.
“Maybe you don’t want to set up a bar for that person if it will trigger them. The most important thing is to be a role model for them and show your support. You can do that by maybe not drinking yourself, or affirming how proud you are of them,” she said.
Life Management has a 24-Hour Crisis Line for those who need help and can be reached at (850) 522-4485 ext. 5.
Life Management also offers a free mental health screening online which is completely anonymous and can help you connect to mental health services. A link to that can be found here.