What is Seasonal Affective Disorder and what can you do about it?

With Special Guests Alie Bates, LCSW & Meagen Yacobino, LPC, LADC

Elim Park recently had special guests Alie Bates, LCSW and Meagen Yacobino, LPC, LADC visit for a special discussion on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and its impact on mental health for today’s seniors. They stressed the significance of seeking help and the resources available for those struggling with mental health.


Overview of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): SAD is a type of depression with a seasonal pattern, typically occurring for four to five months during the winter. Symptoms include sadness, withdrawal, difficulty managing day-to-day tasks, changes in appetite, aches and pains, and in severe cases, thoughts of suicide.


Impact of Seasons in Connecticut: Living in Connecticut exposes individuals to various seasons, and the winter months can sometimes lead to a decline in mood.


Key Points on Seasonal Affective Disorder:

  • Symptoms: Sadness, withdrawal, difficulty managing tasks, changes in appetite, aches and pains.
  • Importance of Recognizing Emotions: Understanding that the holiday season is not always joyful, and it’s okay to feel sad.
  • Impact of Seasons on Mental Health: Seasonal changes, especially in winter, can affect mental well-being.
  • Lack of Sun Exposure: Less sunlight in winter impacts individuals with SAD; getting outside when possible is crucial.
  • Light Therapy: Using light therapy boxes to compensate for the lack of sunlight exposure.


Factors Contributing to Seasonal Affective Disorder:

  • Low serotonin levels: Chemical imbalance affecting mood regulation.
  • Importance of Diet: A healthy diet, rich in vitamin D, plays a significant role in mental health.


Coping Strategies:

  • Reflecting on Activities: Identifying activities that bring joy and increasing time spent on them.
  • Seeking Professional Help: Recognizing when to seek help from mental health professionals for support.
  • Managing Negative Behaviors: Monitoring behaviors such as self-medicating and seeking help if they escalate.


Generational Perspectives on Mental Health: Our recent podcast included a discussion on how different generations approach mental health, with a focus on reducing stigma. Check out the episode here. 


Encouragement to Seek Help: Emphasizing the importance of seeking help and not waiting until symptoms escalate.


Thank you to Alie Bates and Meagen Yacobino for providing valuable insights into Seasonal Affective Disorder, its symptoms, and coping strategies.



  • Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call or text 988 for immediate support.
  • Local Mental Health Providers: Reach out to primary care providers, therapists, or Rushford locations for assistance.

Click here to listen to the podcast episode!