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Beat the winter blues with the blues

Vernon Morning Star - 3/8/2018

The Kal is partnering with the Canadian Mental Health Association to host Beat The Blues to raise awareness about depression and funds for mental health in our community.

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that usually begins in the fall when the days get shorter and lasts through the winter.

SAD doesn't only happen in the colder months though. A less common form of seasonal affective disorder affects people in the summer months and may start in the spring.

Up to 18 per cent of Canadians will experience a mild or moderate form of seasonal affective disorder in their lifetime. People with seasonal affective disorder make up about 10 per cent of all depression cases.

The cause of SAD isn't clear, but it may be caused by lack of sunlight. It's also believed that SAD may run in families: 13–17 per cent of people who develop SAD have an immediate family member with the disorder.

Beat The Blues will feature live music by The Good, The Bad and The Blues, award winning blues band from Chicago and will highlight depression linked to seasonal affective disorder caused by a lack of sunlight in the winter.

"We want to have an evening to put the spotlight on depression, especially this time of year in Vernon. We are thrilled to have The Good, The Bad and The Blues come all the way from Chicago with their unique, powerful sound for an evening of great music for a great cause," said Joel Maddigan, general manager of The Kal.

The Good, The Bad and The Blues play a mixture of fresh new sounds of the new and deep rooted past of gospel, blues soul and funk. The blending of influences makes a rich dynamic experience that touches all the senses.

"It is inspiring to partner with The Kal on this event that will raise funds for critical community services while also highlighting a common mental health issue in our community. It's easy to forget how the weather can affect our mental health, and if one person learns more about SAD and how they can access help, it will be an incredible success. Beat the Blues and other events like this help make change in our community and improve mental health for everyone," said Julia Payson, CMHA executive director.

Beat the Blues is slated for March 15 at The Kal from 7-11 p.m. There is a $10 suggested donation and $5 from all house pizza sales will go to CMHA.

Tips to Ease Your Winter SAD Symptoms

· Spend more time outdoors during the day

· Make a habit of taking a daily noon-hour walk, particularly if you commute to school or work in the dark hours of the day

· Try to arrange the spaces you spend time in to maximize sunlight exposure. Move furniture so that you sit near a window

· Keep curtains open during the day. Trim tree branches or hedges that may be blocking some of the light from getting into your home

· Install skylights and add lamps

· Build physical activity into your lifestyle preferably before SAD symptoms take hold. Physical activity relieves stress, builds energy and increases both your physical and mental well-being and resilience

To learn more about the Canadian Mental Health Association Vernon Branch or to make a donation to improve mental health in our community, visit the website or call 250-542-3114.

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