We’re more than halfway through summer now, and a lot of therapists I know find that they have fewer clients this time of year. That’s to be expected, right? Summer is the season of long sunny days, of fun and relaxation. Historically, I don’t have that same pattern of summer slowing. A lot of people come through that really struggle in the summer with a variety of concerns.
So, I got curious and decided to see what’s being said about summer-specific mental health problems. As it turns out, my experience isn’t all that unusual. The attached article discusses how summer can be especially challenging for many, and can precipitate depression and or anxiety. The article names five specific factors the author sees as related to summertime mental health problems: schedule changes, vacations, psychosocial issues, daylight patterns, and social events. It’s easy to see how the loss of work structure in the summer could cause some to feel untethered. Some of these other factors involve the high cost of having fun, grieving from losses that have taken place, and excess drinking.
I would like to add a couple other factors that I see. One is the pressure to smile and feel good , which is hard on those who are already depressed. For a person who is already in the midst of a depressive episode when summer starts, it can be especially daunting to see people enjoying themselves and not be able to do the same. Other factors I have seen are the need to wear less clothing when one doesn’t feel good about their body, or increased feelings of isolation when one’s family or support system goes away for extended time, or when one notices others having fun but they don’t have strong networks or time off.
If you’re feeling especially down in this summer, remember you’re not alone. If you’re feeling depressed or anxious you can always make an appointment to see a counselor or therapist. At Compatible Counseling Solutions we’re here and would be happy to help.