Health director offers ways to cope with seasonal blues

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

When people diagnosed with depression reach a point of hopelessness, counselors try to instill in the patients a reason for living and figure out the reason for their depression, said Eric Davidson, the director of the Health Education Resource Center.

Many different factors, such as biological, social and mental, can contribute to someone becoming depressed.

Davidson said the feelings of depression could lead to suicidal tendencies because of a feeling of hopelessness.

“If you have no hope, what’s the point of living?” Davidson said.

Davidson said counselors have to address other factors as well.

He said the process is like dealing with someone who is stressed — before resolving stress they have to find its source.

Depression must be fixed on different levels because it can be happen for multiple reasons; Eastern’s counseling center, which has free services for students, has counselor’s trained to deal with those who may have depression.

The counseling center will offer students an objective voice, but the Health Services has a psychiatrist that comes on campus who can also help students coping with depression, Davidson said.

“They’re the experts,” Davidson said.

Many different strategies can be used to combat depression. Talking to Resident Assistants and Directors may be a good way, but connecting with other students on campus can help as well, Davidson said.

Another aspect to depression is seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which is a form of depression that affects people based on the changing of the seasons.

Davidson said this type is hard to pinpoint because it can stem from many different reasons like regular depression. He said this one is thought to originate from a lack of sunlight, which may affect others’ biochemistry.

Seasonal depression can begin in early fall through winter draining energy and mood levels and sometimes in the spring and summer months, according to the Mayo Clinic website.

Davidson said one way to cope with SAD is through a light box, which is essentially a lamp that mimics outdoor light and helps the person with SAD. The light will lift a person’s mood and ease their symptoms. He said a good diet and sleep can help as well.

This past summer, the world saw a loss of comedic and acting talent of Robin Williams because of depression, and from that, an outpour of people announced they were suffering with the disorder.

Because such a prominently known person passed because of the disorder, Davidson believes it brought a lot of attention and awareness to the disorder.

Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]