Christmas Depression

Fraser Valley -DECEMBER 12, 2017 UPDATE – This story is from one year ago, however the issue remains the same. Christmas Depression is real and debilitating. Hopefully there is something here that can help you, if you are suffering through a hard time.

Mental-health and substance-use supports in B.C. include:

  • Mental Health Digital Hub: www.gov.bc.ca/mentalhealth is a provincial website that provides information, services and education and awareness about mental health and substance use for adults, youth and children.
  • Heretohelp:  www.heretohelp.bc.ca/ is a provincial website that provides information about managing mental illness and maintaining good mental health, including self-management resources and screening self-tests for wellness, mood, anxiety and risky drinking.
  • Substance-Use Services: B.C. has a network of direct and contracted services for people experiencing substance-use challenges, including counselling, needle exchanges, opiate-replacement therapy, and withdrawal management and prevention programs for adults and youth. Call toll-free: 1 866 658-1221
  • The Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service: Provides resources, support and referral information for treatment and counsellors around the province. Call toll-free: 1 800 663-1441 or 604 660-9382 (Greater Vancouver)
  • HealthLink BC: Provides 24-hour, confidential health information and advice. Call: 811, or visit: www.healthlinkbc.ca
  • Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre: Provides confidential, non-judgmental, free emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including thoughts of suicide. Call: 604 872-3311 (Greater Vancouver), or toll-free 1 800 SUICIDE (784-2433), or visit: https://crisiscentre.bc.ca/
  • Bounce Back: A free, evidence-based program designed to help youth and adults experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression, low mood or stress, with or without anxiety. Bounce Back teaches effective skills to help people improve their mental health. Call toll-free: 1 866 639-0522, or visit: www.cmha.bc.ca/how-we-can-help/adults/bounceback

Supports for children and youth:

Online supports:

  • MindHealthBC: Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Providence Health Care and community partners have created an online mental-health counselling program called MindHealthBC. If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental-health or substance-use challenges, this is a simple easy way to get help. For more information, visit: www.mindhealthbc.ca/about-us
  • Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre: A provincial resource that provides mental-health and substance-use information, resources and peer support to children, youth and their families in British Columbia. Services are free of charge, and you can reach them over the phone, in person, or through email. For more information, visit: http://keltymentalhealth.ca/about

For more information on supports specific to your region:

DECEMBER 16, 2016 ORIGINAL STORY – The holiday season (Christmas and Hanukah)is a time for peace, love, joy, reflection and of course religious significance. It is also smack dab in the middle of the shortest days of the year re: sunlight (A light box is an option if you feel you may suffer from SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder). Add to that the stress of the season, from family expectations to school and job security to finances, and for some, it is overwhelming.

The Fraser Health website states that: Depression can sap your energy, motivation and ability to experience joy, satisfaction, connection and meaning. Your ability to manage stressors will also be impacted, and you may find you’re more impatient, quicker to anger, and quicker to break down in tears or exhaustion.

If those symptoms sound familiar and you’ve had them for more than two weeks, there is every reason to be hopeful: depression is very treatable. The best place to start is with a visit to your family doctor, the main source of professional support for managing depression by many people. There are also many other service providers who offer support for depression, some of which are self-referral-based and others which require a doctor’s referral.

There are many resources available through the Fraser Health website if you feel that you or someone close to you are not coping with the season.

Suicide Prevention is also a very real issue.

Fraser Health Crisis Line – Open 24 Hours A Day
604.951.8855 | 1.877.820.7444

Mood Disorders Association of BC also has resources available in Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu.

Sto:lo provides Mental Health services.

Alcohol and Drug consumption to “handle the holidays” is always a problem and information can be found on line for various AA and NA 12 Step recovery meetings. Simply Google which specific program in your community that you need. All the meeting information can be found on line and anonymously.

You don’t have to suffer in isolation.

From The Province of BC –

Christmas is a time of joy and festivity for many people, but it can also be a challenging time.

The added stresses and emotions that come with the holiday season can have a particular impact on those struggling with mental-health or substance-use issues.

If you’re struggling this Christmas, know that you don’t have to cope on your own. There are a variety of mental-health and substance-use services and supports available throughout the province for adults, youth and children. These supports offer easy access to caring, professional help, and the people on the other end of the phone are always ready to listen.

The pressure of finding the perfect gift, spending time with family and friends, and making sure that children have a memorable holiday can be overwhelming for those who are dealing with anxiety or depression. Supports for adults include:

  • Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre: Provides confidential, non-judgmental, free emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including thoughts of suicide. Phone: 604 872-3311 (Greater Vancouver), or toll-free 1 800 SUICIDE (784-2433), or visit: https://crisiscentre.bc.ca/
  • HealthLink BC: Provides 24-hour, confidential health information and advice. Phone: 8-1-1, or visit: www.healthlinkbc.ca
  • Mental-Health and Substance-Use Information: Heretohelp.bc.ca is a provincial website that provides information about managing mental illness and maintaining good mental health, including self-management resources and screening self-tests for wellness, mood, anxiety and risky drinking.
  • Substance Use Services: B.C. has a network of direct and contracted services for individuals suffering from substance-use challenges, including counselling, needle exchanges, opiate replacement therapy, as well as withdrawal management and prevention programs for adults and youth. Call toll-free: 1 866 658-1221.
  • The Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service: Provides resources, support and referral information for treatment and counsellors throughout the province. Call toll-free: 1 800 663-1441 or 604 660-9382 (Greater Vancouver).
  • Alcohol Sense: A resource for parents and caregivers to support them in having resiliency-enhancing conversations about drinking with their children, including young adult children. Visit the Healthy Families BC website: www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/topic/alcohol-sense
  • Bounce Back: An evidence-based program designed to help adults experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression, low mood or stress, with or without anxiety. Call toll-free: 1-866-639-0522, or visit: www.cmha.bc.ca/how-we-can-help/adults/bounceback

It’s not just adults who can find this time of year difficult: the excitement of gifts, late nights and increased family time can also affect children and youth, leading to feelings of stress, sadness and even loneliness over the holidays.

Additional supports for children and youth include:

  • Kids Help Phone: Immediate and caring support, information and, if necessary, referral to a local community or social service agency. Phone toll-free: 1 800 668-6868, or visit: http://org.kidshelpphone.ca/
  • Youth in B.C. Distress Line: 24-hour distress line staffed by counsellors and trained volunteers who are committed to helping youths in crisis. Phone: 604 872-3311, or visit: http://youthinbc.com/
  • Online services map: Interactive map listing approximately 350 mental-health and substance-use services for children and youth throughout the province. View the map at: http://ow.ly/VFSrT

For more information on supports specific to your region, visit:

If you’re feeling down or struggling with the pressures of the season, put your mental health first and reach out for help and support from family, friends and community service agencies if you need it. Everyone deserves to have a healthy, happy holiday.

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