NPR News for Central and Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

There is Help to Stave Off SAD Symptoms

Depressed young businessman.
Hong Li
Getty Images

The 2021 Farmer’s Almanac says no matter where you live in Michigan, you’re only likely to see between 65 and 75 clear days each year. With that limited sunshine, one form of depression can rear its ugly head. It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder and therapists say there are ways to keep SAD at bay.

Many Michiganders are all too familiar with the winter blues…also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder… and with the holiday season here, it can be debilitating. Although this form of depression is treatable, some people avoid treatment because of cost or lack of insurance.

Becky Lenning is a clinical therapist at Yellow Lotus Clinical Services for Healing and Wellness, a telehealth mental health service based in Michigan. She said many licensed therapists are willing to work with those in need.

“Therapy agencies around the state of Michigan will offer therapy on what we call a sliding fee scale,” Lenning said. “So, if you have no insurance or you're under insured, don’t let that discourage you from reaching out to get some help. There are different agencies that can look at your income and then you would pay just a small fee.”

Lenning said most therapists believe no one should be denied help because of a lack of income, especially this time of year.

She also said taking walks, talking with friends or family, volunteering, starting new traditions and buying an artificial sun lamp can help if you’d like to go the self-help route at this time.

If you or a loved one are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or just cannot do the things you normally do, professional help is recommended. Lenning said calling agencies like Listening Ear or Community Mental Health is a good start or find a licensed therapist who is willing to help.