Last year Rheyanne Weaver wrote an interesting article about how summer can have an impact in our lives. It can be positive and negative but if we keep this in mind we can benefit from the summertime.

She wrote that for children, teens, and college students, summertime is associated with freedom from school and positive emotions. However, summer can also be a time where certain mental health issues need to be tended to even more than usual. Experts share information on what mental health problems can be present more often during summer and how to prevent certain issues.

There are some that experience some increase and some decrease of symptoms. The author found some decrease in ADHD symptoms but increase in depression ones. Weaver reported that John Duffy, a clinical psychologist and author of The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens said in an email that depression can be more noticeable during the summer. “I have found that depression driven by loneliness often becomes more pronounced in the summer,” Duffy said. Anxiety issues can also come to the surface. “We often find that anxiety-based issues become apparent due in part to the lack of structure,” Duffy said.

Some suggestions in the article: a) provide somewhat consistent structure during the summer. b) A good suggestion that can apply to children and teens with any type of mental illness or mental health issues in general. “Get outside and enjoy the summer. Try to limit the amount of time online, watching TV, or playing video games,” Zafirides said. “Be active, get plenty of sleep and exercise. c) William Oswald, the CEO and director of Summit Malibu, a behavioral and addiction treatment center in California, said has specific preventative tips for each age group during the summer:

1. Children: “Setting play dates with other kids or sending them to a day-care program where they do outside activities can keep their minds occupied and also help with socialization. This is key to preventing isolating behaviors later on in life.”

2. Teens: “Having a part-time summer job is the most important thing they can do to protect their mental health. They will learn the importance of a work ethic, earn money (which they can then spend on fun activities), and [prevent] boredom—the number one offender during summer breaks.”

3. College students: “Having an internship or continuing to work on their educational goals will keep them focused and driven, preventing depression and other detrimental behaviors associated with the disorder.”

4. Adults:  it can be unfortunate to be stuck inside working when the weather is gorgeous. “Adults need to utilize their vacation days properly so they have something to look forward to and get to experience summertime weather on days other than the weekend,” Oswald said. “Making time for outdoor activities on the weekend and starting an exercise program will keep one’s mood elevated.”

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professional counseling and care for the mind, body and spirit

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