By Cole Kell
Studies show that extreme weather changes can negatively affect mental health. The winter season can cause people to stay inside more and detach from normal activities. This form of “hibernation mode” can increase depression. With daytime in the winter being shorter and having limited sunshine, our bodies produce less serotonin and more melatonin. This means the neurotransmitter associated with happiness is decreased while the chemical associated with depression and sleepiness is increased. The website I got this from was Winter Weather and Mental Health | The Kim Foundation.
The winter months can take a toll on your physical and mental wellbeing. You may find yourself feeling more irritable, having low energy, or even struggling with day-to-day activities. It is important to be mindful of how winter weather can affect your mental health and be prepared for it. Staying connected with family and friends is a good first step to take.
The Squire interviewed our Guidance Counselor Mr. Morrison about winter mental health.
The Squire: What kinds of mental health challenges might students experience?
Mr. Morrison: Everyone is unique and can face different challenges. Students can deal with a wide range of negative emotions including anxiety, grief, boredom, restlessness, and general sadness. The important thing to remember is these feelings are completely normal and are never permanent.
The Squire: What resources are available to help students?
Mr. M: We have a wide range of resources available for students. Students are always welcome to meet with me directly, and we also have a school psychologist available. We also offer outsourced programs such as SAP, art therapy, and more.
The Squire: Why is the winter season difficult for some students?
Mr. M: The winter season is usually when the real academic grind is going on. Summer was a long time ago at this point, and there are still several months of school yet to go. It can be hard to see the “light at the end of the tunnel” at times, but it’s important to take things day by day.
The Squire: What tips do you have for managing mental health?
Mr. M It’s important to keep everything in perspective. Everyone faces mental challenges – it is totally and completely normal. Talk to someone – a friend, a parent, a trusted adult. Help is always available to those who need it.
Mr. Morrison has good information about mental health. This winter practice selfcare and if you have any questions or concerns about mental health see the guidance office for more mental health resources and information.