LUBBOCK, Texas– The holidays have come to an end, but seasonal depression has lingered for some who struggle with mental health. Bobby Carter, Director of Diversions Program at StarCare Specialty Health System, said the emotions behind seasonal depression could be caused by many factors, from the amount of social interaction to the amount of sunlight a person receives.

“Whenever it’s cloudy and gloomy outside, there’s not [a lot of] high intensity UV rays, and that plays a part in the chemical interactions in our brain, which can increase depression,” Carter said. 

Carter said their facility saw an increase in calls for mental health breaks after the holidays, and he believes less social time compared to the holiday season is the reason. 

“They don’t have that level of family support that they did whenever everyone was coming together for the holidays,” Carter said. “So, because of that decrease in social support or family support, we see an increase in depression, we have an increase in anxiety.”

Carter recommended picking up hobbies to occupy your time and your mind. 

“It engages their mind and helps them focus that attention on something that’s productive, and maybe even a little bit more positive than focusing on the negativity that could be flooding into their mind at that particular time,” Carter said. 

Carter said that if you notice signs of depression, like sleeping too little or too much, isolation in yourself or someone you know, that being direct and talking about the issue is the best way to help.

“You need to talk to them, and you need to reach out to them and ask them the questions that need to be asked in order to get them help,” Carter said. “Because the worst thing at the end of the day that someone can do, is do nothing at all.”  

StarCare has 24-hour services, as well as a crisis hotline for those who are struggling. For more info visit their website.