Bye bye winter blues: tips to taking Seasonal Affective Disorder out of the office

    - National work-health solutions provider identifies key areas for a
    happy workplace this winter -

    TORONTO, Oct. 20 /CNW/ - The Fall season's change in colours is a welcome
sight to some, but not for the two to three per cent of Canadians who are
affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that is
triggered as daylight hours become shorter. People with SAD may report a
reduced ability to function given low energy levels, chronic sadness,
irritability, withdrawal from work or social activities and an inability to
focus throughout the dark, short days of winter months.
    "Many of us may have at some point felt the winter blues; it's a part of
our Canadian experience," said Sue Philchuk, Vice President and Partner at
Banyan Work Health Solutions, a national disability management firm. "However,
we need to be careful not to let those blues turn into SAD. Studies show that
people who experience SAD often still go to work yet produce less; a costly
corporate phenomenon called presenteeism. Left untreated, this presenteeism
may further evolve into short term or long term disability claims for those
employees unable to cope in the workplace. It's important that employers
develop strategies to address mental health issues such as SAD, while they are
still manageable."
    There are a number of Stay at Work strategies that can assist those
employees impacted by SAD, to decrease their symptoms and positively impact
their function in the workplace and at home. Employers and employees can learn
how to identify and control the impact of SAD in the workplace with these

    -   Take it outside: On sunny days, encourage employees to take time to
        go outside during their lunch and breaks. Even a few minutes of
        sunlight help improve mood and energy levels.
    -   Bring in the light: Provide exposure to natural daylight in the
        workplace. When this is not possible, ensure adequate provision of
        bright, fluorescent lighting (cool white, warm white) with
        ultraviolet screens as it produces light similar in colour
        composition to outdoor daylight.
    -   Allow flexible scheduling: Starting work early in the morning while
        its dark and leaving work when it's dark can contribute to SAD. A
        shift in start time or end time, increasing an employee's exposure
        to daylight can assist in reducing symptoms of SAD.
    -   Advocate for education: Provide opportunities for lunch and learns
        to share with employees what SAD is, the symptoms of SAD and that SAD
        can be controlled using a variety of interventions.
    -   Access the professionals: Trained and experienced professionals such
        as psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists that may be able to
        aid in diagnosing SAD as well providing treatment (medication,
        cognitive behavioural therapy) aimed at reducing symptoms of SAD.

    About Banyan Work Health Solutions

    Banyan Work Health Solutions was founded in Toronto in 1995 and has a
network of over 120 consultants across the country. Banyan offers a full range
of absence and disability management services, including a comprehensive menu
of assessment services intended to reduce costs and improve productivity over
the long term.

For further information:

For further information: Brown & Cohen Communications & Public Affairs
Inc., (416) 484-1132, Rowena Calpito, ext.4,; or Kendra
Dubyk, ext. 5,

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