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Tis the season to be jolly...

Despite all the months of hype around Christmas, not everybody is looking forward to it. The expectation of merriment often makes depression worse and witnessing others enjoying themselves can increase a sense of loneliness.

Disruption to normal routines and the pressures of Christmas increases domestic tension in some households. We know there is a strong link between alcohol and violence.

You can help by reaching out. They are not trying to spoil Christmas; no one chooses to have a hard time. So try not to be judgemental or take it personally. Make time for them, listen.

And if it’s you struggling, be gentle on yourself. It’s OK to prioritise what’s best for you and spend less time in difficult places. Perhaps talk to someone you trust.

Rates of mental health problems, suicide, domestic abuse, violence and relationship breakdown all rise over this period. How can this happen?

Christmas goodwill is often spoken about, but less often demonstrated. But you can….be kind to yourself, be a friend, make the connection.

Our local mental health services have done a short YouTube clip on how to look after your wellbeing at Christmas. There’s more information on the Mind website.

For advice on how to talk to someone who you think might be thinking about suicide see the Zero Suicide Alliance website, and information on domestic abuse can be found on our Domestic Abuse webpage.

The Samaritans free 24-hour confidential telephone service for anyone in personal crisis is on: 116 123