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Tis the Season

Welcome to the holiday season. Typically, a time for families and friends to connect and share in the joy of the season. That said it can also be a time of isolation for many, for stress overload, and a general sense that it is not “joyous.” Recent social media posts on suicidal ideation from celebrities who have been harassed and the recent murders and suicide of a family in Tampa exacerbate negative feelings. Personally, this holiday brings a sense of melancholy to my family, having just lost a wonderful member of our family within the last few weeks and knowing that two other loved ones passed away during this month in years past.

We understand that feelings of sadness or loneliness are “normal” feelings that dissipate in a relatively short time. However, for people living with depressive disorder, or chronic depression, those feelings may not subside.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), an estimated 16 million American adults had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. Depression does not discriminate; rather people of all ages and all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds experience depression.

Depression that is chronic, more than two weeks, is different for each person. Depressive disorder changes how a person functions day-to-day and symptoms can include change in sleep or appetite, loss of energy or interest in activities, physical symptoms of pain, and suicidal thoughts.

The good news is that there is treatment and support available. Psychotherapy, medication, exercise, and alternative approaches are just a start. NAMI Sarasota County offers weekly and monthly support groups and education classes designed to help individuals, families and caregivers with their mental health issues. NAMI is also a resource to individuals and families looking for support and services in the community.

Reach out for help, whether it be to a friend, family member, co-worker, or NAMI at 941-376-9361 or info@namisarasotacounty.org. And if you or someone you know is in crisis, whether they are considering suicide or not, please call the toll-free, 24/7 Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

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