By Erika Mathieu
SAD lamps can now be accessed at 26 libraries in southern Alberta.
The aptly-named Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and other conditions can be effectively treated with light therapy, according to Chinook Arch Regional Libraries.
Libraries offer a plethora of services and supports beyond just books to members including yoga classes, active living equipment, and free seminars and events. Now, a partnership between AHS and Chinook Arch has made access to light therapy lamps possible for use in 26 Chinook Arch member libraries, including Picture Butte, Coaldale, Stirling, Magrath, Vauxhall, Warner, and Cardston.
AHS provided information on the value that light therapy lamps could provide to members across the region.
CEO of Chinook Arch, Robin Hepher, said the collection of SAD lamps, “is just one way we’re working with local public libraries to make unique resources available in communities across southwestern Alberta.”
Hepher noted, “Libraries offer value beyond words.” According to MyHealth.Alberta.ca, SAD occurs more commonly in women than men, and impacts northern communities at significantly higher rates due to shorter daylight hours in the winter.
The disorder has been hypothesized to be a result of the lack of sunlight, and extended periods of darkness in northern regions can disrupt circadian rhythms and impact mood by disrupting serotonin uptake. Exposure to light can help mitigate some of the symptoms associated with SAD including low mood through the intentional exposure to light which is brighter than regular indoor lighting but not as intense as direct sunlight. Sessions of exposure can range, but are typically 20-40 minutes per day. Sitting in front of a light therapy lamp can be done idly while engaging in other activities like reading or even working at a desk.
As part of Chinook Arch’s recent announcement, Senior Operating Officer Addiction and Mental Health for AHS South Zone, Thomas Mountain noted, “Initiatives like the one launched by Chinook Arch are an impressive display of how an organization can play a part in supporting community members across the region.” As discourse surrounding mental health has become more mainstream in recent years, Mountain added the community at large, “has the power to help one another and support the mental health of those around us.”
For more information about the Chinook Arch Regional Library System, visit chinookarch.ca.