The Christmas season can be a hard time for many people. It is a time we associate with family and friends, so for people who are dealing with feelings of grief or who are isolated and lonely, it can be an emotional and challenging time.
Many people experience anxiety, depression or stress, and this can be worsened by feelings of not wanting to burden family or friends. Isolation can diminish our resilience or our ability to bounce back from difficult situations. Our usually effective coping strategies may not be working quite so well. This can all be made worse through excessive alcohol consumption through the Christmas season.
According to Dr Russell Roberts, Director of Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Services for Western NSW Local Health District, ways to overcome these feelings and improve resilience can include getting involved in social activities such as a community Christmas function, or staying in touch with family and friends.
“They may have similar ideas or feelings, so planning an activity that is shared can impact positively on all those involved.” Dr Roberts said.
“So if you know someone who will be alone over the Christmas period, consider inviting them to join you and your plans to help them not become lonely over the Christmas period. If you can’t do this, try to keep in contact with them to make sure they are alright”.
It is also important to seek help for any mental health concern over this period.
“Even though many services will be closed over the holiday period, support from trained staff is always available through the Mental Health Information and Support Line and we encourage people to make use of this important service,” Dr Roberts said.
If you have any concerns about your mental health or that of a loved one, please contact the Mental Health Information and Support Line on free call 1800 011 511.
Media contact & photo opportunities: Terry Buckerfield - 0417 225 704