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Feeling the winter blues?

As this time of year is often filled with joy and excitement for festive celebrations, it can be difficult to come to terms with the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). 

Defined by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that occurs during the same season each year. It usually happens in the fall or winter, but some people may experience season-linked symptoms in the summer.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of seasonal depression that affects up to 15% of Canada’s population each winter.

This time of year, the shorter, darker, and colder days we’re experiencing on Vancouver Island can negatively affect our mood.

The signs and symptoms of SAD share several similarities with depression, although these signs and symptoms appear and disappear at about the same time each year

The major symptom is a sad, despairing mood that:

  • is present most days and lasts most of the day
  • lasts for more than two weeks
  • impairs the person’s performance at work, at school or in social relationships.

In order to overcome these overwhelming feelings, health practitioners recommend working towards a healthier lifestyle as one of the key components.

According to recommendations, spending more time outdoors during the day, resisting carb-heavy foods and sleep cravings, and arranging the spaces you spend time in to maximize sunlight exposure are the first steps one can take to overcome SAD. 

Additionally, physical activity relieves stress, builds energy and increases both your physical and mental well-being and resilience

If all else fails, the following mental health resources throughout Vancouver Island are there to help those struggling in silence.

HealthLink BC

If you’re unable to access an in-person support system. Call 811 or visit the health link BC’s website to access free, non-emergency health information for anyone in your family, including mental health information. 

Through 811, you can also speak to a registered nurse about symptoms you’re worried about, or talk with a pharmacist about medication questions.

  • Call: 8-1-1 toll-free in BC

Canadian Mental Health Association – BC Division

The Canadian Mental Health Association also provides information and community resources on mental health or any mental illness.

For further support, you can visit www.cmha.bc.ca or call 1-800-555-8222 (toll-free in BC).

  • Call: 1-800-555-8222
  • When: 24/7 mobile resource

Mental health resources for students at Uvic

University can be stressful and it’s easy to find yourself feeling overwhelmed. If you’re lonely, worried about the future or struggling with mental health issues, we can help.

UVic’s mental health support team takes a collaborative approach. Their team includes counsellors, doctors, nurses and spiritual care providers.

You can book an appointment to meet with a counsellor, nurse, physician or spiritual care provider by calling 250-721-8563, or by booking in-person at the Student Wellness Centre

If you are unsure as to what kind of appointment you need you can also book a wellness consultation.

  • Where: Health and Wellness Building, 2300 McKenzie Avenue 
  • When: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Child & Youth Mental Health Intake Clinics

Children, youth and families can attend one of 13 CYMH intake clinics for an intake interview. 

The intake interview will take about 45-90 minutes. 

Upon completion of this interview, you will be provided with information and details about the next steps and what to expect in the process.

With 13 mental health clinics for children across Vancouver Island. This resource will allow those struggling with depression related symptoms receive advice and support. 

  • Call: 250-356-1123

BC Crisis Centre 

The Crisis Centre of BC provides help and hope to individuals, organizations, and communities. 

The BC Crisis Centre provides resources for a range of crisis support, suicide prevention, and postvention.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the BC Crisis Centre Distress Line number at 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-784-2433.



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