Health

Amarillo Licensed Professional Counselor gives advice on how to deal with mental health situations at Christmas time

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Christmas is just weeks away, and for some, it is a time that can bring some challenges to their mental health.

“It always tends to come up around the holidays. The National Association on Mental Illness says that 64% of people with a mental illness report that the holidays can make their conditions worse,” said Kristen Barrick, Licensed Professional Counselor.

Those conditions include anxiety.

“We have expectations about how things should look then they don’t meet those expectations. We can be stressed out about spending time with our family that maybe we haven’t seen in awhile or that family member that just might know how to push your buttons in just the right way,” said Barrick.

Depression is another one.

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“People can just feel alone. Family members are leaving to go to other places, friends going out of town. When we feel lonely, sometimes we can feel extra sadness,” said Barrick.

Dealing with a wide range of issues can present challenges too.

“Knowing that you disagree with a family member on politics and that that may come up can cause a little bit of stress. The vaccine, a lot of people have different opinions about that. Dealing with the differences in opinions on that can be difficult for people to manage their emotions,” said Barrick.

So what is the best piece of advice that Barrick can give on dealing with these situations?

“You’re not going to be able to control what your mom or your dad do or your brothers or sisters or your cousins or your aunts but what you can control is your reaction to them. Be mindful of what it is that is in your control,” said Barrick.

Barrick said that there are a number of ways to deal with mental health situations.

They include stepping away from the situation or making clear boundaries of what you do not want to talk about.

If you need someone to talk to, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line by texting “Home” to 741741.

Written by Jason Britsch

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