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Fight the wintertime depression blues

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- As the days get shorter and darker and the weather gets colder, members of Team Buckley might find sadness and gloom taking hold.

Whether it's the weather forcing servicemembers indoors, increased focus on family during a time when many Airmen can not see their families, Seasonal Affective Disorder or simple longing for the return of the sun, depression seems to strike fast and hard during the winter months.

Fortunately, members of Team Buckley do not have to face bleak moods alone. Many resources on Buckley are available to take care of the Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians here.

First, the Mental Health Clinic at the 460th Medical Group accepts both appointments and emergency walk-ins for active-duty servicemembers who don't feel they can handle stress or depression. The Mental Health Clinic can be reached at 720-847-6451.

Another option when dealing with homesickness, stress or mild depression during the winter is the Military and Family Life Consultant Program, offered by the Airman and Family Readiness Center. This program provides "short-term, situational problem solving counseling services to servicemembers and their families," according to their brochure, and can be reached at 720-670-7831.

No matter what faith a servicemember or civilian holds, if any, the Buckley Chapel is also available to take care of emotional and spiritual needs. Chaplains can provide a valuable and often underestimated service - a friendly ear - and are able to offer complete confidentiality as well. Additionally, chaplains can help connect servicemembers and their families with local events during the holidays, which may ease stress. The Chapel can be reached at 720-847-4631.

Last, but possibly most important, are friends, co-workers, supervisors and first sergeants. Connecting with others does wonders for relieving stress, keeping feelings of homesickness and loneliness from surfacing and keeping servicemembers and their families busy during the winter months.

Take the time to meet your neighbors, the other Airmen down the hall in the dorms, your fellow office workers a few cubicles over or just a fellow Coloradoan in the coffee shop. Keep your head up this winter, and know that if you are suffering from depression, there is help and you are not alone.
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