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January can be difficult month for people struggling with depression

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX – The parties are over. The gifts are exchanged. The decorations are down.

January can feel like a letdown, and if you’re feeling depressed to start the new year, you aren’t alone.

Phoenix psychiatrist Dr. Melissa Estavillo told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday that January is her busiest month.

“It looks kind of dreary outside in some places. It can just feel like it’s just kind of cold, and I think we can feel a lot of that emotionally in a way,” she said.

“And so if people are struggling with that, it’s important for them to know that they’re not the only person and they don’t have to put on this positive face because many other people are feeling the same thing.”

Estavillo said people can forget to take care of themselves during the hoopla of the holiday season.

“For a lot of us, we have maybe been putting self care on the back burner and not really addressing some of the bigger triggers for distress,” she said.

The decrease in social activity following the holidays can make depression more dangerous than at other times of the year.

“It’s a time where a lot of the social interactions back away, and so it actually creates a big risk for suicide for many people,” Estavillo said.

“And so I think for us it’s a big point where we want to raise that awareness that people are not alone, that they are not the only people going through that.”

Estavillo encouraged people to stay in touch with loved ones after the holiday activities end and not to keep feelings of depression to themselves.

“I think a huge step is being able to reach out to your friends and family and still continue to have those strong social interactions with the healthy people in your lives,” she said.

If you need help, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar contributed to this report.

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