Remember those who may feel lonely over Christmas and the New Year

Christmas is not a happy time for everyone. Photo credit: CavCare.

For many people, the lead-up to Christmas and the New Year can be exciting, hectic and stressful all at the same time. 

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) acting executive director of mental health services Bill Brakoulias said that Christmas and New Year can also trigger anxiety, depressed mood and an increases in self-harm.

“Christmas can be a lonely time for some people, triggering strong emotions, depressed mood, grief, anxiety and a risk of self-harm,” Bill said.

“Check on your neighbours, family or friends who may be alone over the holiday period and if you can, include them in your festivities.

“If you’re planning to go away, plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Whatever you do, don’t rush.    

“Avoid alcohol ​and drug use, particularly when under a lot of stress or coping with a depressive illness, as it can lead to impulsive or irrational behaviour.

“Christmas can also be a financially stressful time. If you’re strapped for cash, try giving a gift of kindness, volunteering your time at a local charity or donating old or used items.

“Whatever you choose to do this festive season, I encourage everyone to look after their own mental health by staying physically and socially active, and looking out for friends and loved ones.”

Support is available at:

·         Lifeline on 13 11 14 for 24/7 crisis support

·         Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 for 24/7 for mental health advice and information

·         Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 for 24/7 mental health advice and information

·         Healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222 for 24/7 health advice and information

·         Suicide call back service on 1300659467 24/7 crisis support

In an emergency, people in need of immediate assistance should contact emergency services on triple zero (000).