BROWN COUNTY, Wis (NBC 26) -- With the winter already here, many people are starting to feel the effects of shorter days in a number of ways.
Connecting with family, friends, and even strangers in-person is a part of human nature that many are not getting enough of these days.
"The silent pandemic is going to be the mental health pandemic," says Bob Johnson the President of the Solihten Institute which has a network of mental health clinics in northeast Wisconsin.
Johnson says he anticipates there will be a significant increase in demand for his services this winter.
"One of the major things the pandemic has done to us is separated us from in-person connections which is something we're not comfortable with."
Johnson says many are already experiencing seasonal depression brought on by a lack of sunlight and a lack of interactions.
"Pick up the phone, text somebody, and say hey do you want to have a ZOOM call? It's good for us and important for us."
Human interactions can help alter a depressed mood, even if those interactions aren't in-person. But Johnson says helping others can also lift a person's spirit because it's something you're in control of and it produces results you can see.
"Whether it's volunteering, delivering a bag of food to a food shelf, or snow blowing out the neighbor."
A daily schedule, a structure according to Johnson, can also alter your mood. That means a scheduled time to go to bed and wake up, three regular meals a day, and some exercise consistently according to Johnson can yield results if consistently followed.
"It also helps with a sense of purpose and direction. You don't get a sense of loss or hopelessness."
These are some of the mental health tips that can help anyone get through the winter months ahead. But after nine months of trying to keep your distance from others, Johnson says you shouldn't feel defeated if you're starting to feel like nothing is helping.
"Call a mental health provider and get an appointment, don't wait. We are so much better at helping you when you have a question (rather) than when you have a crisis."