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Programs available to help with cold weather blahs, Christmas blues

Inspirations, an outpatient behavioral health program at Duncan Regional Hospital, offers services for senior adults that include counseling, group therapy and help with medication management. The average age of patients is now 75.

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that symptoms of depression are often overlooked in older people due to differences in clinical symptoms and/or reluctance to admit to feelings of sadness. Research indicates that symptoms of depression often improve in older adults who receive treatment with counseling, medication or a combination of both.

Amy Toomey, Inspirations manager, said they provide group therapy Monday through Friday, as well as psychiatric medication management. "We have a board certified psychiatrist who sees all of our patients upon admission," Toomey said. "Once a month, the psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner visits with the patient."

It's a good time to have a conversation about mental health, particularly how seniors are affected by the holiday season, according to Toomey.

"I also think it's a good time to talk about mental health in the State of Oklahoma," Toomey said. "There's need for treatment as well as advocacy for people that have mental health diagnosis. Another reason is the stigma that persists in society about people that are participating in mental health treatment. I think the more education, the better informed we are, the better we are equipped to make decisions and seek treatment when we, ourselves might need it, also."

The Lawton Constitution

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