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Where the holidays introduce a number of heightened stressors that can trigger episodes of depression and anxiety, they also tend to offer more sources of comfort and support. Family and friends can be immeasurably helpful at this time of year, and we thought it worthwhile to share an excerpt from an article in the South China Morning Post that makes some helpful points. If you are supporting a loved one with mental health issues now, or at any time of year, and you’re in the greater Cleveland area, we hope you’ll reach out to us if you need support yourself.

…It is important for the lay person to know how and what to say to people with mental health disorders, especially during the holiday period. We need to help them reinforce a sense of hope and rebuild connectedness with loved ones and the community…

Depression sufferers may be reminded of how lonely they are during this period especially if they have recently had a break-up, divorce, betrayal or loss of some kind, she adds.

We need to acknowledge and validate their feelings; allow sufferers to feel the way they do instead of dismissing them as burdensome. Even if we don’t understand their fear or source of depression, it will mean a lot if we simply just be present and show support and empathy.

Show a little compassion, listen without judgment, offer positive words of encouragement, and appreciate any efforts they are making at festive events…

Read the full article here.