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’Tis the Season for Seasonal Affective Disorder


’Tis the Season for Seasonal Affective Disorder


’Tis the Season for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Posted on by Jill Harp

Smokey Mtns_Harp 1608There is something about the summertime that gives me a whole new perspective on life.  I feel reinvigorated during these months and have more motivation to get things done.  The longer days and warmer air elevate my mood, and I get excited about venturing outside and admiring the flowers and sunshine.

Unfortunately, summer can’t last forever. As all Wisconsinites know, winter will soon return. It is not that I do not like the colder months; I just notice myself feeling a little less energetic and enthusiastic than usual. You might say I get a case of the “winter blues.”

These “winter blues” are a mild type of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression associated with winter – but it usually begins in September or October.

It is estimated that one to two percent of the population suffers from SAD. It is most common among people living farther north (ding ding, Wisconsin!).

Do I have Seasonal Affective Disorder?

If, as summer turns to fall, you find yourself experiencing the following, you may have SAD.

  • Hopelessness, sadness or tension
  • Decreased interest in things you once enjoyed
  • Depressed mood
  • Irritability
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Weight changes (usually weight gain)
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating

Mild symptoms usually start in September and October and worsen as the days get shorter and colder.

If you notice these symptoms in yourself or someone you love, there are several steps you can take on your own to help you move through these months without feeling so weighed down. I’ll cover those steps in next Wednesday’s blog post.

*Information gathered from

Lorenz Kayci 5247

Kayci Lorenz is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Training. She focuses on young adults dealing with a variety of mental wellness concerns, including anxiety and stress management. She sees clients at our Menasha location and at the UW-Fox Valley campus.

Want to Express Your Feelings Clearly?

Grok cards

Grok Cards are a great tool to have both in and out of the therapy room!  They are non-violent communication cards that promote honesty, compassion and connection.

Each Grok box comes with both feelings and needs cards, as well as instructions for an assortment of games and other ways to use the cards. I use Grok cards in therapy sessions with adolescents, adults, couples and families to help them clearly express what they are feeling about a person or situation. The cards also help my clients articulate unmet needs.

Grok cards can be used to improve empathy, clarify values and goals, and resolve conflict. These cards are especially helpful for those who have a hard time expressing what they are feeling.

Grok offers a variety of options to choose from and explore!

Kinas Katelynn 5523Katelynn Kinas is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Training. She sees adolescents, adults, couples and families for issues that include relationship struggles, sexuality and gender, depression, anxiety, body image and eating concerns.

Samaritan Counseling, Spirituality and the Healing Connection

Posted on by Jill Harp
Siebers Tracy 2955

Dr. Tracy M. Siebers, Ed. D., LPC

Dr. Tracy M. Siebers joined Samaritan Counseling in mid-June in a dual role as new clinical director and therapist.

Tracy recently shared how during her 20-plus years of experience in the mental health field she has continuously witnessed the important healing connection between mind, body and spirit in helping individuals, couples, families and organizations function most effectively.

“Based on the research I’ve done, Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley is an industry leader in utilizing an individual, couple or family’s spirituality in the counseling relationship in order to help them in obtaining wholeness and healing,” Tracy said.

Samaritan’s impressive Clergy and Congregation Care program has been part of this mission, she said, as well as the recent Creating Hope conference for faith leaders that equips them to understand and minister to those who have been affected by trauma.

“I am proud to say that I am in a leadership position at an organization that supports this connection for clients, as well as for staff,” Tracy said.

More About Dr. Tracy Siebers, New Clinical Director and Therapist

Posted on by Jill Harp

siebers banner 2Tracy came on board with Samaritan in mid-June. In addition to her clinical director role, Tracy will be offering counseling in both English and Spanish at the Samaritan Center in Menasha.

“Samaritan Counseling… is known for integrating spirituality into the counseling process to more effectively promote emotional healing and growth.  It is my strong belief that spirituality and faith offer hope, inspiration and direction to an individual, couple or family when skillfully integrated into the counseling process,” Tracy said.

Tracy has experience working with children, adolescents, adults, couples and families facing:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anger Management
  • Behavioral Problems
  • Cultural Adjustment
  • Mindfulness
  • Trauma
  • Borderline Personality Disorders

Learn more about Tracy and our amazing team of therapists here.

Wellness Screen Stars in re:TH!NK’s July 2016 Video

Winnebago County Public Health’s re:TH!NK program has been a great partner to Samaritan Counseling Center in the recent past. You can feel that partnership in re:TH!NK’s latest video.

The video, anchored by Winnebago County public health educator Emily Dieringer (in green), features a segment on Samaritan’s Connected Community Wellness Screen program presented by executive director Rosangela Berbert (seated, in pink), program coordinator Jen Parsons (seated, in coral) and the Oshkosh Area School District’s pupil services director, Matt Kaemmerer (seated).

reTH!NK wellness screening cable show - Lynnsey Erickson, Beth Clay, Rosangela Berbert Jen Parsons
The video can be viewed online (click on the re:TH!NK image, like the one below) or via public access television (Time Warner Cable Channel 2) at the following times now through Aug. 31.

Mondays, 2:30-3 p.m. and 8-8:30 p.m.
Tuesdays, 2-2:30 p.m. and 9:30-10 p.m.
Wednesdays, 1-1:30 p.m. and 10-10:30 p.m.
Fridays, 5:30-6 p.m.
Saturdays, 2-2:30 p.m.
Sundays, 5:30-6 p.m.

Worth noting: The others in the photo are Lynnsey Erickson (in black/gray) of re:TH!NK, who, as a 2014-15 AmeriCorps member, collaborated extensively with the Wellness Screen program, and Beth Clay (standing, in pink), executive director of the NEW Mental Health Connection, of which Samaritan is a founding member.


Posted on by Jill Harp

Siebers Tracy temporaryPlease welcome, Dr. Tracy Siebers, new clinical director and psychotherapist!

Tracy brings to Samaritan 20 plus years’ experience in the mental health field and nine years’ in clinical supervision and coordination roles.

“This is the (organization) I’ve been looking for, a place where they truly value the worth of the individual as a whole.  I am excited to use my background, experience and skills to further assist (Samaritan) in continuing to make great things happen in our community.”

As of mid-June, Tracy joined our counseling program and amazing team of therapists not only in a leadership role, but also offering counseling in both English and Spanish.

 Learn more about Tracy’s experience and roles with Samaritan.

Want to meet a strong woman?

Executive director Rosangela Berbert and 2016 Connie Steele Woman of Strength Beth Heuer

Executive director Rosangela Berbert and 2016 Connie Steele Woman of Strength Beth Heuer

Last week some 100 guests joined us at our Silent Samaritan Luncheon, held at the beautiful Riverview Gardens. We celebrated a successful Silent Samaritan Campaign, which raised $26,000 to give low-income women access to counseling. The campaign, themed “Women of Strength Helping Women in Need,” is in its 11th year. The 130+ donors to the campaign made this its best year yet, motivated by three anonymous matching gifts totaling $9,500.

At the luncheon, we also honored Beth Heuer our 2016 Connie Steele Woman of Strength. An article on Beth and the award appears in today’s Post-Crescent. Read more about it here.

There was more to celebrate, too! Keynote speaker Nancy Heykes, VP of development for Goodwill NCW, was surprised when Samaritan executive director Rosangela Berbert and development director Lisa Strandberg led guests in a harmonious rendition of “Happy Birthday” immediately following her message.

Happy birthday, Nancy!

Happy birthday, Nancy!

Thank you, Pat Mahoney, husband of board member Kathy Mahoney, for all the amazing event photos!

Does your workplace emphasize mental wellness?

Samaritan staffers tend to their mental health through yoga.

Samaritan staffers tend to their mental health through yoga.

Workplace wellness programs have caught on with large and small employers alike. The idea: Healthy employees show up for work, perform better and get more done.

During Mental Health Awareness Month, we pose this question: Does your workplace wellness program include a mental wellness component?

Not many do, according to this May 4 Fast Company article. This despite the fact that 50 percent of adults will face a mental health issue in their lifetimes — and adults spend an average of nine hours a day at work.

If your workplace does include mental wellness in its wellness program, what does that look like?

If your workplace doesn’t, what do you think are the reasons?

Feel free to share your thoughts by commenting on this post.



Westward Ho, Mental Health Ministry?

Beth Clay DaNita Carlson MHMI meeting in Lisa's office 160429Samaritan therapist Doug Bisbee and development director Lisa Strandberg were super-excited to meet this morning with Beth Clay, executive director of the NEW Mental Health Connection, and DaNita Carlson, Wood Co. public health educator, to share news of our growing Mental Health Ministry Initiative. DaNita is dreaming about doing similar work in her neck of the woods.

The Mental Health Ministry Initiative, a collaboration of Samaritan, NAMI Fox Valley, the NEW Mental Health Connection, LEAVEN and others, aims to equip faith leaders to minister effectively to the mental health of those in their care. The movement in our community is to bring mental health education, awareness, early intervention and treatment to folks where they find themselves every day — schools, workplaces, faith communities and the like.

This work wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Basic Needs Giving Partnership Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, supported by the J. J. Keller Foundation, the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, and other community partners. The Cathryn Probst Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region also underwrites this work. Thank you, partners! Good luck, Wood Co.!

Come and be a part of it! The Mental Health Ministry Initiative will host Creating Hope: Understanding Trauma for Faith Leaders from 8 a.m. to noon on Thurs., May 26. Could be the best, most impactful $45 and four hours you spend this year.

Making Mental Wellness A Priority

img2Samaritan is so proud to be a partner in the Hortonville Area School System’s E3 program. We’re even prouder that the program is featured on the front page of today’s Post-Crescent in an excellent article by Katherine Lymn.

Kudos to district administrator Heidi Schmidt for her vision and advocacy for mental wellness among students, and to the HASD school board for getting behind the program financially.

Read the article here.