Staying mindful of mental health during the holidays

Check in with loved ones and yourself, Boca Raton psychiatrist Dr. Samantha Saltz says
Holiday shoppers in Palm Beach County, December 2022.jpg
Posted at 7:10 AM, Dec 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-19 07:10:48-05

BOCA RATON, Fla. — The holidays can often be a difficult time for people who are struggling with their mental health.

The topic was thrust into the spotlight last week with the news that DJ and dancer Stephen "TWitch" Boss took his own life.

The 40-year-old was the longtime DJ on "The Ellen Degeneres Show" and he was known for his big smile and smooth dance moves.

The news about Boss' suicide really took people by surprise because you would constantly hear that he always seemed happy. But experts said you really never know what people are dealing with under the surface and behind closed doors.

"Mental illness is a silent disease, and we also need to be cognizant of looking out for that disease as much as we look out for any other disease," said Boca Raton psychiatrist Dr. Samantha Saltz.

Sometimes even family members don't understand what their loved ones are truly going through, so Saltz said when you ask them, mean what you say.

"There is a difference between saying, 'hi, how are you?' and looking at somebody and saying, 'hi, how are you doing?'" Saltz said. "There is a difference in the way you actually express a true concern for somebody and check in with somebody, as opposed to just saying the verbal words."

Saltz said the holidays can bring on feelings of isolation and loneliness, as well as financial stress.

So this is not only a reminder to check on your friends, but also on yourself, and make sure you are giving yourself some time for self care during this very busy season.

"Ultimately, you've got to remember that you are not alone," Saltz said. "We need to reach out to family members, we need to reach out to friends. And remember that suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the U.S."

Saltz added that if you are struggling or know someone who is, reach out to talk to a professional who can help you through it.

If it's someone close to you who is reluctant to get help, Saltz recommends you offer to make the phone call with them or go to the appointment with them to help the process.

"We need to take a step back and remember everyone has their own struggles. Everyone has their own pain," Saltz said. "And even if someone may appear well on the outside, on the inside they could be really broken."

You can always call 211 to speak to someone in Palm Beach County or on the Treasure Coast if you are struggling. And the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is 988.