Seasonal Depression Affects High School Students

Sophia Juhler, News Editor

Seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that can affect students as the seasons change.

SAD is a type of depression that is caused by the changing of the seasons. It usually occurs in the winter months when the days get shorter and the weather gets colder.

However, seasonal depression is more than just a case of winter blues. Counselor Valerie Powell clarified that SAD is very similar to other types of depression.

“The symptoms of SAD are like the symptoms of depression: having a less energy, sleeping too much, feeling sad more often than normal, losing interest in activities you once found enjoyable, having difficulty concentrating, and having suicidal thoughts,” said Powell.

Seasonal depression affects millions of Americans and most commonly affects women and teenagers. It is crucial for teens to be proactive about their mental health during the winter months and all year long. 

Senior Aubry Allen explained steps teens can take to manage their mental health.

“Make sure you have the right resources. Know what you need to be happy and help yourself grow as a person,” said Allen. “Some people feel better going to therapy and talking about their feelings, but others are helped by taking medication, and some enjoy being around their friends. Teens should do whatever they need to feel better and focus.”

If ignored, SAD can have effects on one’s mental health, and it’s important to get help if necessary.

“If you notice a peer struggling, ask them how they are doing. Let them know that you notice a difference and be there to listen,” said Powell. “If they agree they are struggling, encourage them to talk to an adult. If they won’t talk to you and you’re really concerned about a change in their behavior, let someone know whether that is their parent/guardian or another adult.”

On the Southeast Polk website, you can find resources for mental health. Under “Departments and School Counseling”, there is a link titled “Student Mental Health & Wellbeing” that has lots of resources and information that is helpful to students.