Christmas is not a wonderful time for everyone

I always look forward to Christmas every year for some much-needed rest, fun, and festivities with my family. I know I’m lucky to have a lifetime of happy Christmas memories. I know for many people, including people on low incomes, homeless, alone or generally finding life tough-going, the Christmas period can add significantly to their challenges. For them, Christmas can be anything but the most wonderful time of the year. 

Let’s face it, Christmas can be a challenging time for most people. Stress levels tend to rise with all the organising and shopping required. Then there’s the extended family and over excited children to cope with. However, spare a thought for people with low levels of resilience and poor mental health and wellbeing, including the ever-increasing numbers of people with a diagnosable mental illness such as stress, anxiety and depression. Studies show that depression and suicide rates increase at Christmas, and in one survey of young people, 45% said they dreaded the festive season. For many people, Christmas can increase their sense of isolation, or for those with a past bereavement, their sense of loss.

If you know of a young person who is struggling and who might find Christmas an extra challenge this year, keep an extra close eye on them for unusual or abnormal behaviour such as withdrawal, being down for long periods, increased anxiety, or panic attacks. If necessary, encourage them to talk about their feelings and seek help from ChildLine on 0800 1111 / www.childline.org.uk or the Samaritans on 116 123 / www.samaritans.org.

Kevin PaceComment