Why it's so important to check in on your pals as winter approaches
It could save a life.
The winter months are fast approaching and as the nights get longer and the weather gets colder, the majority of us won't be out as much as we have been over the summer.
With this comes loneliness. Staying at home, not wanting to brace the cold and avoiding the world. And of course, seasonal depression is a very real thing.
According to the HSE, seasonal depression is when we experience the normal symptoms of depression but "they occur repetitively at a particular time of year."
Mostly starting in autumn and winter, these symptoms only ease as spring approaches, leaving many feeling low for many months at a time.
While the severity differs depending on the person, the HSE says: "Some people just find the condition a bit irritating. For others, it can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day life."
The best advice for anyone who may be experiencing this is to talk with someone you trust or visit your GP, but more often than none that's a lot easier said than done.
If you're lucky enough to not go through this, it's still something to be aware of as these months set in. If you find yourself out for drinks, going to markets, Christmas shopping with friends or simply grabbing a coffee and notice that a friend who is usually up for anything suddenly isn't - think that there may be more to it than meets the eye.
Checking in on our friends this time of year is so important, a simple text to see how they are or a phone call to ensure they know they're not alone can be the step somebody needs to get the help they need.
The winter months can be hard for many, and while Christmas is thought to be a joyous time of year, it can be some people's worst nightmare. If you have a friend whose behaviour begins to change - talk to them, reach out and make them feel heard.
While we may not be professionals when speaking to our friends about this, simply knowing somebody is there can be a weight lifted - even if it is only a small weight.