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Residents in Four States find relief to holiday depression throu - KOAM TV 7

Residents in Four States find relief to holiday depression through volunteering

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An estimated one in ten adults suffer from depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For many, the holiday season can trigger depression symptoms more than any other time of the year.

However, some residents in the Four States are finding relief through volunteering.

"Just to see their smile, it makes me smile," said Jessie Tate, volunteer.

Tate volunteers 30 hours a week at Souls Harbor in Joplin.

"I do anything from sorting clothes to helping out in the kitchen," Tate said.

Tate says volunteering has lightened his perspective on the entire community and keeps away dark feelings.

"I get the blues just like everybody else does around the holiday seasons, but coming here and volunteering, it puts a smile on my face," he said.

Grief relief counselor Ann Leach says giving back has the same effect for others.

"Doing some form of volunteering or giving back to others helps us, in this season of Thanksgiving, to see how fortunate we really are," Leach said.

Leach says volunteering can also bring positive health benefits.

"Our blood pressure goes down and our mood elevates," she said.

Leach says volunteering in an area you are passionate about will have the greatest impact.

"If you care about animals, for example, volunteering at the humane society, or walking a neighbor's dog, just to get you out of the house," she said. "Those little activities can make a big difference."

Depression is often heightened during the holidays since it's a season of reflection, and reviewal of the past year, which is why Leach says volunteering is an effective way to shift that focus.

"We have to honor our feelings good or bad, but know that even just 16 seconds of thinking a different thought, a more positive thought, can change our whole world," Leach said.

As is the case for Tate.

"Yes, I'm going to cross out the holiday blues for this year," Tate said.

For those experiencing holiday depression, local grief counselors say it could be an indicator of an underlying, more chronic depression, for which therapeutic or clinical help is encouraged.
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