(Toronto, ON, April 23, 2019)  — Spring brings warmer weather and birds chirping, but it’s not always a welcome change to those who are struggling with mental health challenges.  Bhatia Psychology Group, a mental health clinic with locations across the Greater Toronto Area, encourages Ontarians to watch for warning signs of depression in friends and family this month.

Most of us are familiar with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in Winter. However, studies have shown that the warmer temperatures associated with Spring are linked to a rising suicide rate. Spring can have an impact on neurotransmitters like serotonin, hormones like melatonin, and allergies, which can release cytokines and in turn boost inflammation levels.

“In addition to physiological changes, there is an increased expectation to engage in social and physical activities when the weather is warmer. For some people, coming out of the hibernation-like mentality of Winter can induce anxiety and depression,” says Dr. Maneet Bhatia, Psychologist and Clinical Director of Bhatia Psychology Group. “We’re encouraging everyone to keep a close eye on loved ones and be aware of warning signs, such as isolating behaviour, changes in sleep or eating patterns,  excess anger or irritability — to name a few.”

In Canada, nearly 4,000 people die by suicide each year. According to data from Statistics Canada published in the Globe and Mail, the number of suicides from 2000 to 2012 peaked in May with a whopping average of 363 deaths. That is more than 20 percent higher than December during the same period, which is a time when people are particularly sensitive to those who may be struggling with their mental health.

“Spring is a time when people should prioritize their mental health,” says Bhatia. “And accessing assistance from a mental health practitioner and engaging in evidenced-based psychotherapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, or Psychodynamic Therapy as well as Mindfulness techniques can provide a great foundation of support as we transition through the seasons.”

While there are risk factors beyond temperatures that are important when assessing depression and suicide risk, we must keep a watchful eye over loved ones who may be particularly vulnerable — especially now that the Winter is over.

About Bhatia Psychology Group

Founded by Dr. Maneet Bhatia, Bhatia Psychology Group (BPG) provides mental health support and assessments for children, adults and couples. Our team features clinical psychologists, social workers, and registered psychotherapists. Together, we help you manage challenging times by empowering you with practical skills, driven by evidence-based research. Locations in Richmond Hill, Toronto and Whitby. www.bhatiapsychology.com


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