Depression is something that everyone experiences on different levels. Montanans may have a reputation for being tough, but many of us deal with depression, even if we don't talk about it.

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According to the CDC, Montana has one of the highest suicide rates per capita in the country. We rank 3rd behind Wyoming and Alaska. Oftentimes, people that deal with depression feel alone and cut off from the world. This winter has been extremely long and if you've been feeling the winter blues, you're not alone. I'll admit, there are days during the winter when I struggle to get out of bed and have trouble getting motivated to do anything.

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I feel like it's very important to talk about depression, and let people know that we're all in this together. The cloudiness and constant cold temperatures can definitely have an impact on your mental health, and if you ever start feeling down in the dumps, there is always someone to talk to.

I've talked to a few friends lately and they are experiencing the same thing. Personally, there are a few things that I've found can help. Take advantage of the sunny days. Sunshine and vitamin D can really be effective in boosting your mood. Get outside and take your dog for a walk. Trust me, it helps. Here are some additional things to try if you're dealing with depression.

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I'm not a huge advocate for taking medication, but I'm also not a medical professional. If you feel the need, talk to your doctor and find something that works for you. If you ever need someone to talk to, please don't hesitate to reach out. If you are in crisis and want help, call the Montana Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline, 24/7, at 988 or by texting “MT” to 741741.

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