Therapy light to help depressed Swedes

Artificial daylight - Phototherapy lamps are installed at bus shelters in Umeå. Photo: Umeå Energi

Bus stops throughout Umeå get phototherapy lights to combat residents’ Polar Night depression.


As the dark season takes the Barents Region, many northerners love the long and cold winter, despite lack of proper daylight. Others get depressed and can’t deal with the lack of light. 

The local energy company in Umeå, the largest city in northern Sweden, has installed phototherapy lights at the bus stop shelters. The idea is to help the citizens to cope with the loss of natural light. 

So-called anit-SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) lights are installed at 26 of the bus stops. The light simulates daylight artificially, it is completely harmless and does not generate UV radiation, Umeå Energi informs.

Light therapy is a known treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder, and many northerners have small lamps at the office desk or at home. This is the first time such lights are taken into public areas. 

“We want to give Umeå residents an energy boost,” says head of the company Göran Ernstsson.

All bus stops with anti-SAD lights are marked in Google’s city map of Umeå.