Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Social worker: Holiday depression surge a myth

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BATON ROUGE - Shopping, entertaining, and everything else that goes along with the holidays can create a lot of pressure.

Because of that, you might expect the phones at the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center to be ringing off the hook. But according to phone coordinator and licensed social worker Allyson Pardue, that's not the case.

"It's commonly thought that during the holiday season that more people are going to be depressed. but we find there's really no great increase in calls during that time," she says.

Many experts say clinical depression does not affect more people than normal during the holidays. According to the CDC the number of suicides actually goes down in December, and spikes during the spring and fall.

"We think it's about people finally being able to reach out to those people in their life, or spending time with loved ones, when maybe during the rest of the year they don't get as much support," explains Pardue.

For those who do not have support, that's where the crisis hotline comes in.

"That's a big part of it, just talking to someone who is objective who doesn't have an opinion on what you should or shouldn't do," Pardue says.

Holiday blues aren't a complete myth says Pardue, the added stress does get to many people.

Especially in colder climates where there's less sunlight. Experts say it can lead to seasonal affective disorder or SAD.

"That's a little less prevalent here in the south where we don't have such extreme conditions. So in some parts of the country that's going to be a big concern," Pardue explains.

The extensively trained operators take in more than 25,000 anonymous calls a year. To reach the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Hotline : (225) 924-3900 or CrisisChat.org.


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