By Laura Keil Publisher/Editor

Winter can be a difficult time for mental health, even more so when the weather doesn’t cooperate. It can be hard to get outdoors or see any blue sky or sunshine through the window.

Icy roads and sidewalks can isolate seniors, the freeze-thaw cycle can interfere with outdoor exercise plans, and the dreary cloudy skies can feel like a pot lid on your mood.

If you are struggling, it’s important to know you’re not alone. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, by the time we reach 40 years of age, half of us will have had or will develop a mental health problem. Even if you don’t suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (a form of depression that hits seasonally) or another mental illness, everyone goes through difficult times at some point.

Knowing you’re not alone, however, is often not enough. In the Robson Valley, there are numerous options for getting help – whether it is seeing a doctor, a doctor-referred mental health councillor (there is one located in Valemount and one in McBride), or a family support worker. These services are free of charge and provide important support to many individuals and families in the valley.

Having positive face-time with other people is also an important element of mental health. There are a number of community events happening this month that can provide an opportunity to reconnect with friends and acquaintances.

It can take courage to reach out for support, but when we take care of ourselves, we can better be there for others. Everyone deserves to feel ok.