Mental health provider seeing more cases of seasonal depression

The associate clinical director at Carastar Health says this time of year brings about all types of emotions, meaning more people need help.
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 9:55 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 20, 2023 at 10:27 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The sun is setting earlier across central Alabama. For some, the reduced sunlight and shorter days is believed to cause a chemical change in the brain, leading to seasonal depression.

Erica Barnett, the associate clinical director at Carastar Health in Montgomery, says this time of year brings about all types of emotions, meaning more people need help.

“I do see more individuals coming in seeking treatment,” Barnett said.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness says young people are at higher risk. It is also more common in women than men.

People may need help if seasonal depression is affecting their daily lives, like relationships and ability to work.

Signs also include oversleeping, daytime fatigue and overeating.

“Particularly with us coming up on the holidays, this is a time the individual sometimes become more depressed because of the hustle and bustle of the holiday,” Barnett said.

Plus, some people will have their first Thanksgiving without a loved one.

Local resources are available. Carastar Health covers Montgomery, Autauga, Elmore and Lowndes counties, offering outpatient services and the Carastar Crisis Center.

“Individuals are able to walk in, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, holidays,” Barnett said. “They can walk into this facility and get help.”

Psychiatrists, nurses and therapists are on standby, ready to give individuals a diagnosis and outline treatment options for people struggling this season.

Carastar Health accepts insurance but says that is not a barrier. They will not turn people away.

Individuals can call 800-408-4197 or visit the Carastar Health website to learn more.

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