With the approach of shorter days and colder weather, there’s a common feeling of gloom that many people share as summer waves goodbye.
Fortunately, at the Terrace Public Library, there’s a special lamp that can help patrons lighten up their mood.
Known as the SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) light, it’s a form of light therapy that safely mimics sunlight. It has been popularized to help treat depression that annually occurs with the transition into fall and winter.
“I don’t know how much awareness there is about seasonal depression, but it does get dark in the winter times for quite a while so we have an option here for people to take the lamp home and rejuvenate,” says David Tremblay, the Library Director.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association online, almost 20 per cent of Canadians will experience a form of SAD in their lives. Especially for those living in more northern areas, lack of sunlight generally decreases energy and can negatively affect people’s moods. Symptoms include weight gain, lack of sleep and trouble concentrating.
For Tremblay, he says he first heard of SAD when two members of his family expressed their seasonal blues. They haven’t been officially diagnosed, but he says it does help them to have a SAD light around.
“I bought my mom a SAD light — she always tells me about her routine in the morning as she reads her book and drinks her tea by it,” says Tremblay. “She says she’s recognized a difference.”
Although the lamp has been busy lighting up the front desk with checkouts, not everyone knows it’s available.
“Having access to that is beneficial, but I didn’t know it was here,” says Christina Bolton, a library user. “Because of the stigma dealing with depression, there’s many people who will try other options other than medication.”
She says that people may see it as taboo to see a professional about their depression, so it’s good if there’s something non-medical for them to try at the public library for free — especially for those who already have a lot to worry about.
The lamp has been in circulation since 2016 and includes an ionizer to filter air. Due to its popularity, the library has considered purchasing a second one. At Coast Mountain College Library, there are also two lamps for students to use in-house.
It’s important to note that the lamp does not cure SAD and if symptoms become severe, it’s always recommended to seek professional help.
“With the weather changing, it’s been a bit depressing but I think getting the word out there (about it) is important,” says Bolton.
“And it’s much cheaper than going to Mexico.”