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Coping with mental health issues during the holidays

Managing stress can be difficult during a challenging season for many

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The holiday season is right around the corner, which is usually associated with good memories and cheer. However, this time of year can also spark feelings of anxiety, depression and even loneliness for others.

Mental health issues and addiction during the holiday season can affect not just those struggling with such issues, but their loved ones as well. In addition to loneliness, high expectations of gift giving/receiving, and "perfectly" planning events can spark more stress.

"Particularly with depression this time of year," Matt Brown, interventionist for Freedom Interventions, said Tuesday. "I see a lot more people struggling with depression, whether it's a feeling of 'I don't have a lot to celebrate right now' or 'I've pushed so many people away from my own life that I don't have that many people to celebrate with any more.' I think that kind of shame can cause a deeper struggle for them."

Signs to watch for that may show someone is battling with a mental health issue include increased substance abuse, erratic behavior, increased isolation, dramatic weight gain or loss, and differences in sleep patterns.

Brown said oftentimes, this type of behavior is a cry for help for someone to notice something is wrong.

"I think a lot of times in family systems, we look at this and see a lot of shame," Brown said. "We are afraid to talk about it -- it's hard to talk about it. As much as we know about health in terms of the body, when it comes to mental health, it's a conversation that needs to be had. It's a stigma sometimes that gets attached to that. If we can find a way to take that stigma away and talk about it in a loving way, I think it's a path to move forward."

Focusing on self-care during the holiday season, making realistic expectations and even doing something for another person are all ways to help improve our outlook.

Bend / Central Oregon / Deschutes County / Let's Talk / News / Top Stories

Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.

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