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    Residents taking advantage of free counselling services

    When the weather turns down and the days get shorter thanks to Daylight Saving time, it’s easy to feel a rush of the winter blues coming on.
    Langdonites seem to be keenly aware this is the time of year to get some assistance with their mental health, and it’s never been easier or more convenient.
    University of Calgary practicum student Courtney Rosvold is offering free counselling services at the Langdon Medical Clinic on Thursday afternoons and evenings, and she’s been booked up until the new year.
    For Langdon primary care nurse Colette Curkan, this is a sign that the service is definitely needed and that if you make it convenient for hamlet residents, they have no excuse not to get some help at a difficult time of year.
    “Because Langdon is a bedroom community, people have to drive outside of the community for to work or do children’s activities,” Curkan said. “If we bring those resources to them and closer to home, it improves accessibility and likelihood they will use those resources. 
    “Then it will improve the health of the community as a whole.
    “When you bring these services in to people’s communities and within their medical home, they are more likely to use it. There is less stigma with having to go to a medical professional or counselling area.”
    Although Rosvold doesn’t have free space until the new year, there will be opportunities to get in to see her as she is scheduled to be in Langdon until next summer. 
    There is a chance she will keep coming out once she’s completed her degree but there might be a fee attached after that to continue with clients. 
    Rosvold does have plenty of experience as she was a teacher for 15 years prior to moving over to psychology. She also has a two-year-old and will have plenty in common with the young families that make up most of Langdon.
    “She’s well suited to the community in that sense,” Curkan said. “She’s not fresh out of high school who doesn’t have that much life experience. People feel comfortable she has that background in education as well.”
    There are also a few courses being offered through the clinic that are designed to help with mental health over the winter. Through the middle of November there is a weekly free class at the Langdon Firehouse Bar and Grill called Craving Change, which is about emotional eating and why we fill our bodies with unhealthy foods.
    Curkan promises more classes will be coming in the new year, including one called Stepping Out of the Drama, designed to help families cope with conflict.
    This is the time of year she finds that it is tougher for people to relieve stress and ease their minds. There are fewer hours of sunlight, so it might be a case of leaving and returning home from work in complete darkness.
    Unless you are an avid winter sports enthusiast, there are fewer opportunities to get fresh air and exercise, and Langdon doesn’t have as many indoor facilities for exercise bigger centres offer.
    All that can add up to cases of the winter blues that could develop into much worse problems.
    “Absolutely. Everyone has stresses and ways to relieve that stress,” Curkan said. “A lot of it is getting outside and getting exercise. When those opportunities aren’t as available and accessible, things get tougher. 
    “I would say in North America in general, Canadians tend to struggle with season affective piece more than others.”