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West Michigan fighting the winter blues

Updated: Friday, January 24, 2014 |
West Michigan fighting the winter blues story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - West Michigan is singing the winter blues.

Between blasts of snow, slick roads, and what feels like a never-ending deep freeze, symptoms of seasonal depression are sinking in.

We talked to the lead emergency room social worker at Borgess Hospital Thursday afternoon.

She says this past weekend, the psychiatric units of almost every hospital in Michigan were completely full, and seasonal affective disorder played a huge role.

It seems that the bitter cold biting at your face and freezing your fingers may be numbing your mood as well.

Borgess says they've seen significantly more patients struggling with seasonal affective disorder this winter compared to years past.

"I think it's because it's so much colder; it's much less ability to get outside and do what you want to do," said lead ER social worker Deb Schauer.

"People will end up not wanting to do anything, not wanting to talk to their friends and family, will just kind of isolate in their homes," she added.

That can cause a downward spiral.

"It's depressing because you can't get out and do things you normally can, so you don't really feel like doing much," explained Tannah Harvey, a student.

Social workers say it's totally normal to battle the winter blues, but they want people to know you don't have to do it alone.

"Talk to your primary care providers, look into getting therapy, call or go to a local ER and ask for resources in order to start getting treatment and start getting healthy again," Schauer advised. "Because the winter's not going to get any shorter, especially this year."

If you need to talk to someone, you can also call 2-1-1 to reach the Gryphon Place help line.
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