Feeling SAD this fall and winter? Help is available!
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression which occurs during certain times of the year (most often fall and winter). It is thought that shorter days and less daylight may trigger a chemical change in the brain leading to symptoms of depression. Melatonin, a sleep-related hormone, also has been linked to SAD. The body naturally makes more melatonin when it's dark. So, when the days are shorter and darker, more melatonin is made.
What are the Treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder?
SAD is more common in adulthood than for teens/children, and similar to the treatment for Major Depressive Disorder, therapy and medication can often help people to cope with the symptoms.
- Get help. Please do not try to self-diagnose! If concerned about your moods, thoughts, behaviors, get help from a healthcare provider!
- Set realistic goals in light of the depression. Don't take on too much. Break large tasks into small ones, set priorities, and do what you can as you can.
- Try to be with other people and confide in someone. It is usually better than being alone and secretive.
- Do things that make you feel better. Going to a movie, gardening, or taking part in religious, social, or other activities may help. Doing something nice for someone else can also help you feel better.
- Get regular exercise.
- Expect your mood to get better slowly, not right away. Feeling better takes time.
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Stay away from alcohol and drugs. These can make depression worse. Remember: People rarely "snap out of" a depression. But they can feel a little better day-by-day.
- Delay big decisions until the depression has lifted. Before deciding to make a significant transition—change jobs, get married or divorced—discuss it with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
- Try to be patient and focus on the positives. This may help replace the negative thinking that is part of the depression. The negative thoughts will disappear as your depression responds to treatment.
- Let your family and friends help you.
My name is Ashley Kortenhaus and I am the Mental Health Coordinator (MHC) at Monmouth Regional High School. This is my fourth year at MRHS, but before joining the Falcon family, I worked for 4 years at an alternative school for at-risk youth and students with disabilities. I graduated from Monmouth University where I earned my BA in Psychology and Sociology, an MSEd in Educational Counseling, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Professional Counseling. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of New Jersey and a Nationally Certified Counselor with an additional certificate in School Counseling. I recently completed three other certifications to enhance student support services: Certified Clinical Trauma Professional-Level II, Child and Adolescent Trauma Professional and a certificate in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Welcome to my website, where you can learn more about the mental health services available to students at MRHS, as well as access resources available for students, families, and staff. For more information, questions, and concerns, you can contact me at the following:
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: (732) 542-1170 x.1157
- Fax: (732) 542-5815
- Room #: 402
The mental health services at Monmouth Regional High School have been designed and organized to assist students with their personal, social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. There are many reasons that a student may reach out or be referred for mental health counseling: anxiety, depression, interpersonal/peer conflicts, trauma, behavioral outbursts, ADHD, LGBTQ+, personality disorders, teen issues, eating disorders, autism spectrum disorder, self-esteem, stress, relationship issues, spirituality, family conflict, domestic violence, divorce, oppositional defiance, etc. Substance use/abuse concerns are often referred to our Student Assistance Counselor (SAC), Dara Jarosz. You can view her website HERE for more information.
The MHC provides in-school assessment, crisis intervention, counseling, and referral services to students who may be experiencing personal, family, and/or peer difficulties (such as those described above). My primary goal is to support students and assist them with managing their mental health and personal challenges to maximize their success in school. In addition to individual counseling, the MHC and SAC also offer groups depending on the needs of the school community.
If you are currently experiencing a mental health crisis, please call 911, visit your nearest emergency room, or call PerformCare at 1-877-652-7624.