DAP Health offering “Mind Over Mood” group to help individuals battle Holiday blues
The Holidays are a time of joy, Black Friday deals, and endless hours of Hallmark Christmas movies.
But they can also bring an unwelcome guest – depression, and anxiety.
DAP Health is offering Mind Over Mood, a structured support group to help individuals change negative thinking patterns that often can lead to challenges such as anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, substance misuse, and relationship problems.
The program begins November 4 and the group will meet every Thursday for 12 weeks at DAP Health. The sessions run from 2-4 p.m. and are free and open to the community.
For more information, or to register, call (760) 323-2118, ext. 567.
“The holiday seasons can be a very difficult time for many people, but especially in the LGBT community, when family becomes such a major focus or in the holidays,” said Dr. Jill Gover, the Director of Behavioral health at DAP Health. “It can be a very distressing time. It was important to offer this group that provides a very specific tool, a psychological tool that can really help people change their negative thinking and really help them alleviate some of the depression and anxiety you might experience in holidays.”
Gover said this year was particularly crucial because of the COVID pandemic, which left people more isolated and created more mental health issues for individuals.
“That's one of the reasons why I thought it was so important to start this group this holiday season because we're coming out of almost a two-year period of extreme stress that is really unprecedented,” Gover said. “There's a pent-up demand to celebrate this holiday because so many people have had to put that on hold and, and so many families have been unable to come together because they weren't able to be geographically in the same place.
“This year, as we move towards the new normal, we're starting to resume a lot of those activities that we had pre-pandemic. Because of that, there's a heightened intensity, a pent up demand for the best holiday season ever to make up for all the really crappy ones we had last year.”
The program is also part of a new clinical instructor training program at DAP Health. One of the new interns, Chris Cassirer, will run the group. Gover said it allows Cassirer a chance to learn how to facilitate a group as well as hone his clinical skills.
The service is available to the entire community.
Gover also points out that the program is based on a cognitive-behavioral therapy model developed by Christine A. Padesky, a clinical psychologist who is also the co-founder of the Center for Cognitive Therapy in Huntington Beach and author of seven books.
“It’s a wonderful book that I think everybody should learn because it really helps with daily living, and it will be particularly useful as we head into the holidays,” Gover said. “So many of us are going to feel that excess stress.”
Over the summer, mental health took center stage in the sports world when top tennis player Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open because she wanted to prioritize her mental health.
It created a much-needed discussion in the sports world, with other athletes chiming in on the lack of help or understanding about mental health.
“Mental health matters, right?” Gover said. “It’s so important and it’s so important to publicize it. In the media, it’s so important in terms of how it tells the story. If we can eliminate the stigma associated with mental health services and allow people to really talk about their emotions, their feelings, their mental health issues, then we can intervene before they get so far upstream. That’s really my goal here at DAP Health. I really want people to come in before things get to a crisis point that they’re off the cliff.
“And that's really what this group is about. It's for the community.”