Shoring up mental health as winter approaches

Six months of dealing with the coronavirus, social unrest, and economic recession have left two out of five Americans with feelings of depression or anxiety, according to recent data—and the problem is likely to get worse as winter approaches, say mental health experts.

“When you’re treating depression, one of the biggest things you can do is behavioral action, and that means basically getting people to do stuff,” said Karestan Koenen, professor of psychiatric epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in a September 16, 2020 Boston Globe article. “Telling someone to stay home is exactly the opposite of that. The weather changing will compound that. We’ll be robbed of some of the ways we’ve been able to cope.”

To stave off feelings of confinement and isolation, experts recommend that people take daylight walks, use artificial lights, eat a healthy diet, get regular sleep, and maintain virtual or distanced social connections.

Read the Boston Globe article: Struggles with mental health could get worse as winter looms