The landscape of mental health is shifting. Millions struggle with anxiety, depression, and other conditions, often in silence. The stigma surrounding mental illness persists, creating a barrier to seeking help.
Our January Beyond the Bimah discussion is dedicated to the mental health crisis. It’s a safe space to break down the walls of isolation, to shed light on the complexities of mental health, and to empower individuals and communities to thrive.
When titans of finance get addicted to drugs and alcohol, they sometimes end up on the couch of Dr. Sam Glazer,” so says The Wall Street Journal. Dr. Glazer, a longtime WJC member, has had a front row seat to the alarming rise in substance abuse, depression, and diverse mental health challenges. He will draw upon his extensive experience to offer profound insights into the underlying causes of the prevailing mental health epidemic. Dr. Glazer will guide us through discerning warning signs and offer thoughts on proactive and preventive measures to address these pressing concerns.
RJA: Do you see an uptick in mental health issues in the winter?
SG: I definitely see an uptick in mental health issues in the winter. Many of my patients experience more symptoms of depression (and substance use) during the winter months. I also see a pattern where people are less likely to seek help during this time, especially in December.
RJA: What are some of the telltale signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder?
SG: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is very similar to depression. What makes it SAD is that it presents in the late fall and winter; it is seasonal and often goes away when the days get longer. Telltale signs include feeling lonely and still wanting to isolate, not getting pleasure out of things that would normally bring you joy or comfort, having less energy, and wanting to sleep more. As far as food, many eat more while others experience insomnia and have no appetite. Remarkably, it is often difficult to see SAD in oneself.
RJA: What are some of the ways people can address SAD at home, or prevent it from developing in the first place?
SG: Knowing that SAD exists is a great place to start. Awareness and reducing the stigma of depression are keys to prevention and treatment. A light therapy lamp is fairly inexpensive and works well. The best medicine is family, community, and friends. Go to your workplace in person and engage socially with others. Psychotherapy can be very helpful as well as various prescribed medications. Additionally, exercise is great at preventing and treating depression, with many studies showing it is as effective as antidepressant medications.
For more information on Dr. Glazer and his practice, please visit www.psychiatrynyc.com.