watch and know yourself, said Janet Richardson, the senior chaplain
at Glendale Adventist Medical Center.
"Everyone gets depressed over the holidays in some way, shape or
form," she said. "Just know, first off, this is going to happen. The
holidays are usually a good stress, but they also carry with it some
Normalize your symptoms -- figure out whether your feelings of
sadness or loneliness are natural, then monitor your symptoms, she
said. Depression can sometimes be a result of the circumstantial
events that come and go, she said.
"If you're sad most of the day nearly every day, that needs to be
checked out," she said.
Suicide does not peak during the holidays, contrary to frequent
reports, according to studies done by the American Foundation for
Suicide Prevention in New York. But depression is one of the warning
signs of someone who feels suicidal, according to the foundation's
Loneliness, especially during the holidays, can be overcome by
keeping yourself around people, she said.
"It's that feeling of isolation that's so hard to manage,"
Liz Christensen, a psychologist at Glendale Memorial Hospital,
said volunteering at community events is one of the easiest ways to
"The main thing is to try not to isolate," she said. "Try to be
around people. If someone is isolating or not wanting to communicate,
or abusing alcohol or drugs to an extreme, that would be signs of
someone being suicidal."
Richardson and Christensen suggested volunteering at a homeless
shelter or a mission on Christmas, visiting a church or a synagogue,
or calling someone who can empathize to combat the feelings of
"Just don't sit on it," Richardson said of feeling depressed. "If
you feel it, act. Do something, be proactive. Don't let it get you."
If you are experiencing depression and need help, call the
Glendale Adventist Crisis Hotline at (800) 300-8040. If you are
feeling suicidal, call the Los Angeles County Suicide Prevention
Center at (877) 727-4747 or log on to www.suicidecrisisline.org.