“You’re Not Alone”: Navigating Mental Health This Holiday Season | Medication


“You’re Not Alone”: Navigating Mental Health This Holiday Season

WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – The holidays can be a bright and joyful time filled with family and friends reunions, but it can also be a difficult time. Amanda Schara, director of behavioral health services at UnityPoint Allen Hospital in Waterloo, said the holidays are a struggle for some.

“Holidays can be a struggle for people, it is high stress, there can be a lot of heartache that resurfaces during the holidays, there can be bad memories associated with the holidays,” Schara said. “People can often feel like they’re the only ones having a hard time with this, but there are quite a few people who struggle with vacations in general.”

Schara said more and more people are seeking mental health help this time of year.

“When it’s dark earlier and it’s colder, there’s an increase only in mental health symptoms that occur in people,” Schara said. “The time of year brings just that.”

With the sun setting earlier and the temperatures dropping, it’s not uncommon to face depression or anxiety and feel lonely and lonely.

“Most people in the Midwest probably have a low mood, but that doesn’t mean they’re being diagnosed with a mental health problem,” Schara said. “I think it’s natural to have a fair bit of munchies in our cycle throughout the year at this time of year.”

Schara said that most people can cope with symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, but when they start to affect your day-to-day functioning, you should seek help.

“If you are not able to function, how you think you should be functioning normally, then this is a sign that is a red flag that you may need to have a little further evaluated,” he said. she declared.

UnityPoint Allen Hospital opened a walk-in mental health clinic to help those in need of care in the area in October. Since then, Schara said counselors are seeing more patients arriving every day.

“There were a lot of things that happened, it would have taken a long time to get mental health services,” she said. “Seeing people come and be able to get advice or medicine has been great to see. They feel vulnerable and upset and leave with more hope.”

She said her job at the clinic has been rewarding. This is an emergency care clinic for mental health needs, and patients can receive prompt on-site counseling and medication management if needed.

The Walk-In Mental Health Clinic is an easy way to get immediate help without waiting days or weeks to make an appointment at another outpatient mental health center.

“People can feel very lonely and lonely and ashamed,” Schara said. “It’s just a place to be able to deal with all of that and to be able to look at this situation differently or find different coping skills to handle this situation. It’s being able to support people on this journey until that point. that they feel they can handle is a little better, a little clearer to themselves. “

The aim is to meet all immediate needs and possibly connect patients with other mental health services in the area for long-term assistance.

“It’s easy for us to feel like we’re the only ones feeling that way when you don’t, and it’s hard to pretend that you feel a certain thing about something when you don’t. don’t do it, ”Schara said. “Whether it’s a close friend, relative, or counselor, just being able to have a place where you can be honest with how you feel is a gift for people when they are having difficulty, whether it is during times of crisis. vacation or whatever something completely different in your life. “

You should seek help if your sleep patterns or appetite have changed, if your symptoms are affecting your ability to function, if you have trouble finding pleasure in things you previously did, or if you are having thoughts. suicidal.

Patients are always encouraged to go to the emergency room if they have suicidal thoughts or think they might hurt themselves or others.

Schara said this time of year is a great time for people to self-assess and see if they need help. If you are unsure, Schara recommends that you speak with a partner, close friend, or family members, as they often notice that you are struggling before you can recognize it.

“If you are having difficulty there are a lot of very good resources,” she said. “Whether you call one of our UnityPoint health resources or come to our walk-in clinic, and we want to be able to help you navigate any situation you are facing. “

The Mental Health Clinic is located at Entrance 6 of UnityPoint Allen Hospital.

The walk-in clinic is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but was closed Friday for Christmas Eve.


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