Winter brings colder weather, grayer skies, seasonal depression, and increased mental health issues. According to the National Institute on Mental Health, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is more common than you may think, and impacts women more than men, especially those living farther North. The symptoms of SAD are the same as depression and often respond to the same treatment methods.
One of the often recommended treatments for depression is exercise. Moving your body helps increase serotonin, improves your sleep, and increases energy levels. Exercise, and finding the motivation to do it, is harder in the winter. However, Linn County Conservation has multiple ways for you to get outside, move your body, and soak up natural Vitamin D from the sun.
Linn County Conservation oversees multiple parks and natural areas that offer opportunities to get outside during the winter months. Whether you are interested in cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or simply just a walk, there is a space for you at the County parks. If you prefer a more structured activity or are looking to join a group outdoors, check out Conservation’s schedule of events.
Outdoor exercise may not be the answer for everyone or for all mental health issues. Linn County has multiple resources available for those wanting to improve their mental health or to get treatment for a mental illness, including the Mental Health Access Center (MHAC).
The Mental Health Access Center provides crisis care for people experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder crisis that requires immediate attention. Providers quickly assess your situation, provide services and supports to help alleviate your crisis and connect you to community-based services. There are four providers “housed” within the MHAC including Abbe Health, UnityPoint Chemical Dependency Unit, Foundation 2, and the Penn Center.
Currently, the Mental Health Access Center offers daytime walk-in hours Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. No appointment is necessary. For services after hours and on weekends, please call Foundation 2 Mobile Crisis Teams at 319-362-2174.