Prof Lorimer says, “Reduced access to natural light during the winter months can have serious impacts on people’s mental health, particularly in Scotland where days can be shorter than elsewhere in the UK”.
The resources include a new online education course developed with cognitive behavioural therapy experts to help people recognise and tackle their SAD symptoms, and a guide on adopting new creative practices and finding community support during the shorter, darker, wetter months.
The new web-based toolkit also offers guidance on how people affected by SAD can set up support groups in their own communities.
Catherine from Glasgow, one of the workshop participants, said, “The workshops themselves formed an integral part of overcoming SAD last winter… It gave me something to look forward to, and a reason to get over the threshold, out into the world and off the sofa!”
At the workshops, Catherine chatted and had cake with other people with SAD, and engaged with the outdoors in a childlike and experimental way. The participants went on walks where they were encouraged to take photographs and build shelters.
Both the event and free-to-access resources attracted considerable media attention, spotlighting the interdisciplinary, creative-arts led approach taken by the project team. Articles, features, commentaries, and interviews discussing the project appeared in the Guardian, the BBC, Good Morning Scotland, the Times, the Herald, the Daily Mail, and others.
Previously, many news stories debated the legitimacy of SAD as a diagnosis. But this new research puts individual and shared lived experiences at the centre of an emerging conversation about wellbeing and resilience, and how our society responds to increasingly disrupted seasonal rhythms and climatic conditions.