How to stop holiday depression - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

How to stop holiday depression

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November 23, 2005

Thomasville, Georgia-- While holidays are a festive time, they can be lonely and depressing for people who don't have family to spend time with. But psychiatrists say there are ways to make those tough times easier.

Stocking stuffers like Logan Metcalf at the Thomasville Community Resource Center are already looking toward Christmas. "We're packing the stuff for senior citizens because they're sometimes alone," says Metcalf.

That's a problem psychiatrists say is all too common during the holidays. Being alone could lead to depression for anyone. "You tend to start reminiscing or remembering either losses, things that have changed, maybe people who aren't there," says Dr. Armin Friedli.

Depression can be compounded by medical problems, an already sedentary lifestyle, or the fact holidays are generally community based. "Everything is setup to not be by yourself. So, if you're already by yourself, it kind of hits you in the face," says Friedli.

Fortunately, you can help. First, be aware the problem exists with someone. Most importantly, after that you can volunteer or spend time with them. Or, you can donate items that might help someone pass the time themselves. But you must follow through once something is discussed. "That's going to be another big letdown if you say something's going to happen and it doesn't," says Friedli.

Which is exactly why Logan and her fellow stocking stuffers want to deliver their presents themselves next month. "I worked really hard to make them happy," says Metcalf. So did each of the other five and six year olds.

The children are making the stockings in partnership with the Salvation Army, who says it also tries to help relieve holiday depression. It's hoping to help more than 1,000 people in Thomasville over the holidays.

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