LANSING – As Michigan enters second holiday season during COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services officials offer advice and resources to help Michiganders cope with the winter blues or seasonal which is common at this time of year.

“Shorter, darker winter days can be difficult for many people,” Elizabeth Hertel, director of the MDHHS, said in a press release. “This season often worsens anxiety, depression and feelings of grief or isolation, especially after everything we’ve been through for the past two years. You can always ask for help, and our service has resources available.


Dr. Debra Pinals, MDHHS medical director for behavioral health and forensic programs, observed that residents feel the emotional strain of prolonged pandemic distress.

“People are grappling with the exhaustion of our time dealing with this pandemic, and they are worried about what will happen in the future. We typically see an increase in depression and grief during the winter months, and COVID-19 is certainly not helping, ”Pinals said in the statement. “The winter blues are a spectrum of mental health issues. It can range from a simple feeling of bad mood or loneliness to full-blown clinical depression with thoughts of suicide. We need to remember that personal care is essential and allow ourselves to take time for ourselves. Thoughts of suicide should not be ignored. People who ask for help are generally grateful for the support they receive to get through a difficult time. “

MDHHS offers the following tips for those suffering from winter blues:

• Stay active, even if he does little things every day;

• Eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep;

• Keep a schedule and try to get some fresh air every day;

• Try to find a little treat for yourself every day;

• Avoid consuming too much alcohol and avoid drugs;

• Create a buddy system so that you have someone you can call when you are feeling down;

• Set limits on how you want to spend your time in a way that works for you. Be respectful of others who may want things from you, but remember to take care of yourself;

• Seek professional help if you need it; and

• For a free, confidential conversation with a trained Stay Well Emergency Response Advisor, dial 888 535-6136 and press “8” when prompted. The hotline is open 24/7 for any Michigan resident.

Visit Michigan.gov/StayWell to locate the nearest Community Mental Health Services Program office, register for a virtual support group, or access helpful brochures and recorded webinars.

Residents of Oakland County and the Upper Peninsula can get free 24/7 behavioral health crisis triage, support, resource information and referral to local services via the line. Michigan crisis and access crisis. Call or text 844-44-MICAL (844-446-4225). Chat is also available via Michigan.gov/MiCAL.

Michigan residents with severe mental health or substance use issues and wanting to speak to someone who understands these issues can call the Michigan Warmline at 888-PEER-753 (888-733-7753). The service is available from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week.

If you or a loved one is concerned about suicide, call 800-273-8255 or visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.