While many residents welcome the arrival of the Christmas season, it isn’t the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. For some, the holidays can bring stress, anxiety and depression. …
While many residents welcome the arrival of the Christmas season, it isn’t the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. For some, the holidays can bring stress, anxiety and depression. That’s true every winter, but this year may be even more difficult as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to drag on for a second holiday season.
For some families, there will be an empty seat at the table this Christmas, as they’ve lost a loved one. Others remain isolated at home as the coronavirus spreads in the community. At the holidays — a time that is filled with great joy for many — some of our neighbors instead experience great sadness.
If you’re going through a difficult time, there’s hope and help available. Start by sharing with someone you trust — talk with a friend, family member, counselor, pastor or doctor.
“It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season,” wrote Mayo Clinic staff. “If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events.”
A lot of helpful resources are available locally, so reach out to a therapist, church or group that can offer support. Healthy Park County has also assembled a list of mental health professionals and other information at https://healthyparkcounty.org/mental-health/.
Powell is blessed to have people who care and support those going through tough times. That’s evidenced by the fact that we live in a place where churches come together every year to put on a huge community meal for Thanksgiving, because organizers don’t want anyone to be alone or isolated. Dozens of volunteers work hard to ensure that every person can enjoy a traditional holiday meal and fellowship. For residents who are homebound, volunteers deliver food.
As Christmas approaches, local groups and churches also are working to provide support, gifts, food, necessities and other help for those in need. In recent weeks, a GriefShare group has gathered at the Garland Community Church of God to offer support for residents who are grieving. Throughout December, Grace Point pastors will speak on Sunday mornings about Christmas and anxiety.
Mental health services are available through local clinics, healthcare providers, private practices and schools. Earlier this month, the Powell Education Association and Park County School District 1 hosted free training in Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) to help people recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis. It’s crucial training, just like CPR or first aid.
Tragically, our rural state’s suicide rate is consistently higher than the national numbers. “On average, one person dies by suicide in Wyoming every two days,” the Wyoming Department of Health said.
Warning signs can include: feeling isolated from friends, family and community; talking about being a burden; increased use of alcohol or drugs; experiencing depression, rage or anxiety; and sleeping too much or too little. For a vulnerable person, stressful events can lead to a suicide crisis. Examples include the death of a loved one, serious financial problems, the end of a relationship or marriage, a recent diagnosis of a serious medical condition or another significant loss, such as employment or housing.
As a community, we can help one another by listening attentively, asking the right questions, and seeking professional help when needed. If you or someone you know is at imminent risk of harming yourself or others, call 911. Wyoming residents needing support can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text “WYO” to 741-741 for the crisis text line.
Be sure to reach out and get support if you’re going through a difficult time — there is always hope.