This holiday season, let’s look out for each other

Nov 2, 2023
Written by: Tom Ross, Mayor City of Minot

The holidays are quickly approaching, and that means most of us are looking forward to spending time with family and friends.

But that’s not the case for everyone. Unfortunately, within our community, there are many people who may not have the opportunity to spend the holidays with their families. For some, that could lead to a sense of loneliness, and perhaps even mental health issues, including depression.

There are Minot State University students who will stay in Minot for the holidays for a number of reasons. There are young Air Force members stationed at Minot Air Force Base who may be experiencing their first holiday season away from home. Some of our family, friends, and neighbors may also need us, but could be struggling with the stigma of asking for help. Others simply may not know how to ask for help.

As community members, we can help.

Minot Air Force Base has a large contingent of young airmen who are embarking on their first assignment away from home. We can always do more, but there are several ways our community is already reaching out to these individuals. The Minot Area Chamber EDC’s Adopt an Airman program allows military and local families to “adopt” an airman to form new friendships and create support networks. MACEDC’s Home for the Holidays program has raised funds from donations and a motorcycle raffle to help send young airmen to visit their families during the holidays.

As community members, family members, friends, and neighbors, we can be part of the solution. Sometimes, it can be as easy as asking someone “Are you OK?” and then being a good listener. Other times it’s more serious, and we may need to help them reach out to a mental health professional. But asking someone if they’re OK is a step in the right direction, and it’s something we all can do. There are some common signs that someone might be struggling with depression, including:
Unusual irritability or anger

Loss of interest in favorite hobbies or activities
Changes in energy, appetite, or focus
Changes in sleeping habits
Feelings of hopelessness
Persistent dark or negative thoughts

The holidays should be a time spent with family and friends. A time to recall fond memories of holiday meals spent around the dinner table at your parents’ house or your grandparents’ home, or celebrating a family member’s birthday. It’s also a perfect time to create new memories with our own children and grandchildren.

But we must also remember that the holidays can be difficult for many community members, and perhaps even for some members of our own families. Financial difficulties can be magnified during the holidays, leading to more stress. Family pressures and job stress can also be intensified during this time, increasing feelings of hopelessness or despair among some folks.

I can’t say this loudly enough: There is absolutely no shame in asking for help. We’re all human, and we all need a little help sometimes. We’ve likely all been touched by the effects of mental health issues in our circle of family and friends. Please, if you or someone you know is struggling with any mental health issues, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are a host of professionals in the Minot area that can work with you. Please, if you need someone trained to help in a mental health crisis, reach out to a friend, a co-worker, or a family member for assistance.

Minot has long been a community full of residents who pride themselves on taking care of each other in times of need. The challenges and pressures of society can manifest themselves in a variety of negative ways among today’s population. During the often stressful holiday season, let’s all keep an eye on our friends, family, and our neighbors. If someone seems to be struggling, ask them if they need someone to talk to. Ask them if there’s something you can do to help. Ask them if they’re OK.

You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.

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