Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Awareness Month
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Awareness Month brings attention to a condition that affects many individuals during the darker months of the year. SAD differs from general feelings of being down in its recurring seasonal pattern and the severity of symptoms. SAD typically occurs at the same time each year, usually during the fall and winter months when sunlight is reduced. Common symptoms include low energy, irritability, difficulty concentrating, changes in sleep patterns, and a craving for carbohydrates. Unlike occasional feelings of sadness or stress, SAD symptoms are more persistent, lasting for at least two weeks and often impacting daily functioning. The seasonal aspect distinguishes SAD from other forms of depression, and its connection to reduced sunlight exposure suggests a link to changes in circadian rhythms and neurotransmitter regulation. If someone experiences recurrent, seasonal episodes of depression that significantly affect their life, it's advisable to seek professional evaluation and support for a more accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
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The month of December also recognizes:
Universal Human Rights Month
December is recognized as Universal Human Rights Month, with Human Rights Day observed on December 10th. The month-long observance was established following the turmoil of World War II, when the Commission on Human Rights wrote a document called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It states: ‘all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.’
The emphasis on human rights during this month is crucial for several reasons, including the promotion that all humans are deserving of dignity, respect, freedom, autonomy, protection from discrimination, access to education and information, freedom of expression, protection from torture and inhumane treatment, the right to work, adequate living conditions, and access to healthcare.
During this month, you can contribute to mental wellness by raising awareness about the interconnectedness of human rights and mental health. Advocate for the promotion of environments that respect dignity, equality, and freedom, recognizing the profound impact these rights have on psychological well-being. Engage in conversations about the importance of eliminating discrimination, supporting access to education and healthcare, and fostering inclusive communities. By amplifying the conversation around human rights and mental health, you play a crucial role in building a society that values the well-being of every individual, creating a foundation for positive mental health.
To learn more about Human Rights, visit: https://www.un.org/en/observances/human-rights-day
National Grief Awareness Week (December 2 - 8)
National Grief Awareness Week serves as a poignant reminder of the collective importance of acknowledging and supporting individuals navigating the complex terrain of grief. Grief is an inherent aspect of the human experience, and recognizing this week provides an opportunity for heightened empathy and understanding. Consider reaching out to your grieving friends or family members with a simple message of love and support, letting them know you're there to listen without judgment. Practical gestures such as preparing a meal, running errands, or offering assistance with daily tasks can alleviate some of the burdens they may be facing. Additionally, attending grief support events together or suggesting professional counseling resources underscores your commitment to their healing process during this sensitive time.
If you or someone you know is a grieving and would like to learn more about mental health support, please contact our Admissions department for information by calling 301-733-0330.
International Volunteer Day (December 5)
Volunteering has been shown to boost mental health by providing a sense of purpose and fulfillment, fostering a stronger sense of community and social connection. Engaging in acts of kindness and contributing to the well-being of others can enhance feelings of empathy and self-worth, leading to a more positive outlook on life. The social interactions and shared experiences that come with volunteering can also reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, promoting overall mental well-being.
Holiday Season Celebrations
December is a month that sparkles with a rich tapestry of diverse celebrations, each imbued with unique traditions and cultural significance. From Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, where Jewish communities commemorate the miracle of the menorah, to Christmas, celebrated by Christians worldwide, marking the birth of Jesus Christ. Kwanzaa, a cultural celebration honoring African heritage and values, adds vibrancy to the December festivities. In India, Diwali, the festival of lights, often extends into December, symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness. Additionally, the Winter Solstice, celebrated by various cultures, marks the shortest day and longest night of the year, often with rituals and gatherings. As we embrace the warmth of these diverse celebrations, let us come together in the spirit of unity, love, and understanding. Wishing everyone a joyous and peaceful holiday season, filled with the spirit of goodwill and shared humanity. Happy holidays!