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Reaching Out For Support With Seasonal Depression - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Reaching Out For Support With Seasonal Depression

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When it's cold out, we have more dark than daylight, and when you're cooped up inside during the winter, the feeling of sadness can creep up on you. Seasonal Affective Disorder is common this time of year, but is a serious situation that, in it's worst form, can lead to suicide.

She's answered countless calls.

"You're hearing somebody who is in the worst situation of their entire life," says Assistant Director of Red River Regional Dispatch Center Mary Phillippi.

She's also been the voice that gets someone through a difficult time.

"I remember parents crying because they found their child hanging," says Phillippi.

The Red River Regional Dispatch Center takes hundreds of calls a day -- too many of which are suicides. 

Phillippi says, "They strike you hard."

Around this time of year, people can experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, a sadness caused by lack of light and other factors associated with depression.

Phillippi says, "We try to be non judgmental, try to get them the help they need."

"Even if somebody is not specially trained in suicide, we can be there for support," says First Link Director of Information and Crisis Services, Stacie Loegering.

But Loegering says sometimes people put off getting that support because of stigmas attached to depression.

"Part of it is just being able to get courage to pick up that phone," says Loegering.

The first step can also be the hardest. But when you call 211, you can be assured the person on the other genuinely cares and you can remain anonymous.

First link has compiled a list of words that people use when they call in and have linked them to a database of thousands of resources to better help. And whether you think you have mild case of the winter blues or thoughts of suicide, Loegering says they can help.

"There's always somebody available to them," says Loegering.

Seasonal Affective Disorder affects about a half a million people, more of whom are in colder climates, according to Mental Health America. If you are feeling sad or have thoughts of suicide, you can call First Link. Just dial 211.

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