Mental health leaders in the Ozarks share resources for the holidays

Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 4:37 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The holidays can be a wonderful time of the year, but many people struggle with depression and anxiety.

“Most of us really hope for that joy and cheer and excitement, really the magic of Christmas we see on tv and watch on people’s social media. The truth is that while it might have moments of that for some of us, for many of us, the holidays hold a lot of grief and stress,” Bailey Pyle with Burrell Behavioral Health explained.

Grief, financial stress, and pressures to have the perfect Christmas can significantly impact your mental health.

Pyle explained how financial stress is the number one reported stressor in the U.S. and is especially present when the season of giving arrives. She recommends remembering what the season is truly all about.

“The relationship and time is the big investment. If we as parents are stressed and not present for our kiddos, we’re missing that time and connection, which is really what it’s all about,” Pyle said.

On top of holiday stress and anxiety, seasonal depression tends to increase in the winter.

“Just with it being so dark when you get up and then dark when you come home from work, it’s a struggle. You feel like you’re spending the majority of the day when you’re working indoors, so it is very isolating,” Stephanie Appleby with the National Alliance on Mental Illness in southwest Missouri said.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, typically occurs as daylight decreases. The lack of vitamin D from sunlight can lead to lethargy, lack of interest in hobbies, and overall negative thoughts or feelings, explained Appleby.

It’s recommended to keep up with your typical routine and exercise. Appleby said some patients invest in sun lamps or take vitamins to offset the sunlight deficit.

If you or a loved one is struggling with any of the mentioned topics, Pyle said it’s best to recognize your feelings instead of masking them with holiday cheer.

“Feel what you’re feeling. Whatever is coming up for you is valid. When we give ourselves space to feel all of the feelings, they don’t take up as much space for quite as long. I think because we have a lot of those expectations of joy and cheer and magic, we think there should not be room for those other feelings. So give yourself grace and love,” Pyle said.

A list of local and national resources is listed below if you are in a mental health crisis.

Crisis Hotline: 1-800-494-7355

Text or call 988 (National Suicide Prevention Hotline)

Burrell Behavioral Health (

National Alliance on Mental Illness SW Missouri

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