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Dealing with seasonal changes –

by Kayla Bell

Summer brings longer days, warmer weather and the promise of outdoor activities, but it can also bring unique mental health challenges. By understanding how summer affects mental well-being and exploring strategies to manage anxiety and depression, residents can maintain a healthy mindset during this vibrant season.

The benefits of sunlight in summer are well documented. Exposure to sunlight increases the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that improves mood and promotes a sense of well-being. This natural increase can be especially beneficial for people struggling with depression. Spending time outdoors, whether you take a walk in a local park, enjoy a day at the beach or simply relax in your backyard, can have a positive impact on mental health.

However, the summer season can also bring challenges. The increase in social activities and expectations can lead to anxiety, while the intense heat can worsen feelings of lethargy and irritability. For some, the lack of structure during the summer months, especially for students or those with seasonal jobs, can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.

Trillium Health Resources plays a key role in supporting individuals with serious mental illness, intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), substance use disorders, and traumatic brain injury (TBI). They provide essential healthcare services that improve well-being and support people to live happy lives. Trillium serves both uninsured people and Medicaid recipients through NC Medicaid Direct, the Behavioral Health and Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities Tailored Plan and other programs. These programs are essential for dealing with mental health issues, especially during the summer.

There are also local resources available to support mental health needs. Coastal horizons operates mobile clinics that serve the area and provide accessible mental health services. They can be reached via their mobile clinic web page or by calling 1-910-619-7117. Additionally, RHA Health Services provides support through the Eastern NC Mobile Care Unit, which serves multiple counties. More information is available on their web page or by calling 1-866-400-4RHA.

Establishing a healthy routine is essential for managing mental health during the summer. Regular physical activity, even mild exercise such as swimming or walking, can dramatically improve your mood and reduce your worries. Dehydration and inadequate nutrition can have detrimental effects on mental health. That’s why it’s also important to stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet.

Practicing mindfulness exercises such as meditation or yoga can help manage stress and anxiety. These practices promote relaxation and can be particularly effective in dealing with the increased social pressures of summer. It is also important to establish a regular sleep schedule. Longer days can disrupt normal sleep patterns, leading to increased stress and irritability.

Getting expert help is crucial for anyone with serious mental health problems. The required assistance can be obtained by utilizing programs offered by Coastal Horizons, RHA Health programs or Trillium Health Resources. Mental health specialists can provide tailored coping mechanisms and interventions to address the unique obstacles that the summer season brings.

Maintaining mental health care in the summer requires proactive measures. People can effectively manage seasonal transitions by creating healthy routines, embracing the benefits of sunlight and utilizing local resources. With the help of groups like Trillium Health Resources, everyone can get the care they need, fostering a year-round community that prioritizes mental health.

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