THE pressure to deliver a picture-perfect Christmas can deliver more tidings of trial and tribulation, than comfort and joy for some.
The pressure can be compounded by other factors like financial stress or family fractures and the addition of alcohol can make it a cocktail for disaster.
Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) coordinator Kate Arndell said it was important for people to reach out to the vulnerable at this time.
“We need people to be extra mindful of those who might be experiencing mental health issues and to reach out, check in and ask: Are you OK,” she said.
“We need to continue to break down the stigma and make sure people are aware of where they can get help and reinforce the message that it is OK to ask for help.”
NSW Health chief psychiatrist Murray Wright Christmas time could amplify feelings of isolation and loneliness.
“The risk of self-harm and suicide increases in the days following Christmas and also on New Year’s Day,” Dr Wright said.
“For people with a depressive illness or experiencing severe stress the festive season can be an emotionally difficult time.
“This is often exacerbated for vulnerable people who see others catching up with their families for Christmas and New Year celebrations when they don’t have families or other sources of support.”
Dr Wright said people might consider simply asking others about their holiday period plans, and inviting them along to celebrations as a welcome support.
“Christmas and the New Year period can be a healing time for many people coping with stress in their lives, and many people may benefit from spending more time with family and friends and taking time out for their favourite pastimes and recreational activities,” he said.
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