News / Halifax

Saving daylight: Halifax Public Libraries using light therapy to treat seasonal depression

All 14 libraries in Halifax Regional Municipality now have light therapy lamps, designed to mimic sunlight and treat Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Kathleen Peverill, director of public service at Halifax Public Libraries, demonstrates one of the new light therapy lamps at the Alderney Gate Public Library on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017.

Marcus Tran / For Metro Halifax

Kathleen Peverill, director of public service at Halifax Public Libraries, demonstrates one of the new light therapy lamps at the Alderney Gate Public Library on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017.

If the short days and cold, dark nights have you feeling blue, there could be a cure at your local library.

Halifax Public Libraries now has light therapy lamps at each of its 14 locations in the municipality, and another nine smaller, more portable lamps that you can check out, just like a book.

“Light therapy lamps mimic daylight,” Halifax Public Libraries director of public service Kathleen Peverill said in an interview.

“As daylight saving time has ended, and our days become darker, quite a few people experience seasonal mood disorders.”

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) says Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is “a kind of depression that appears at certain times of the year,” often during the late fall and winter months.

Two to three per cent of Canadians have been clinically diagnosed with SAD, according to CMHA, and another 15 per cent of Canadians experience milder seasonal depression.

SAD is commonly thought to be caused by a lack of sunlight, and sitting in front of light therapy lamps like the new ones at the libraries can help ease the symptoms.

“We have actually had quite a number of people request that we start carrying light therapy lamps, and so this is a response to a public request,” Peverill said.

Peverill tried out one of the lamps herself, and found it really made a difference.

“I enjoyed the natural feel of it,” she said. “I am often working under fluorescent lights, and it’s quite a nice change.”

Halifax Public Libraries wants people to try out the lights and let them know what they think of them on their website.

The nine lamps available to be taken out of the library are already on a wait-list, and Peverill said the library is considering buying more of them.

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