Where to access support this festive season
While many of us look forward to the festive season, this time of year may be a source of stress, anxiety, sadness or loneliness for some people.
Queensland Health and Lifeline Queensland are reminding Queenslanders that there are strategies to help you through the holiday season - and professionals you can turn to at any time of the day or night.
Queensland Health spokesperson Associate Professor John Allan said 2020 had been a difficult year for many with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting all facets of people’s lives.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many areas of Queenslanders’ lives such as jobs, businesses, education and holidays, as well as seeing family and friends,” Associate Professor Allan said.
“More than ever, we need to mindful of the mental health and wellbeing of ourselves and others over the festive season.
“Christmas can feel very isolating if you don’t have family and friends nearby. If this is the case, it’s important to keep your routine as much as possible and do something you enjoy, such as go for a walk, watch a movie, do some gardening or cook your favourite meal.
“At the same time, Christmas time can also be overwhelming for some people with the pressure to buy presents, celebrate and spend time with family and friends.
“If you’re feeling overwhelmed in the lead up to Christmas, write a to do list to help you feel organised.
“If you can’t spend money, do something meaningful or offer to help with preparing the meal, cleaning the house or babysitting.
“It’s ok to say no to things and it’s important you spend time with people who are supportive.
“Remember, you don’t have to go to every activity or get together. Take a day off from the celebrations, or even just a morning or afternoon, and enjoy some down time.
“If you’re feeling overwhelmed, lonely or anxious, you can reach out and talk to someone.
“You could reach out to a supportive relative or friend by sending a text or message on social media, inviting someone over for a coffee or making a phone call.”
The happiest time of year can be the most difficult time of year, when some people experience financial pressures, increased family conflict, isolation or the grief of having lost a loved one. Luke Lindsey, General Manger Lifeline Queensland said that connecting with others is key¬, particularly during this festive season and after a year filled with so many challenges that have impacted on Queenslander’s mental health.
“Making connections is key and we are encouraging all Queenslanders to start a conversation with someone, let them feel connected and heard during the holiday period. The uncertainty of the year brought on by COVID-19 contributed to a 20 per cent increase in calls to Lifeline’s Crisis Support line. It is predicted that calls to Lifeline’s 13 11 14 number will see an increase by as much as 40 per cent this Christmas.
“If you, or someone you know are feeling overwhelmed, we encourage you to connect with Lifeline in the way you feel most comfortable. Either phone us to speak to a Lifeline Crisis Supporter on 13 11 14 (24 hours/7 days), or chat to us online at www.lifeline.org.au (7pm – midnight, 7 nights).”
You can also reach out to trained professionals for support:
- Lifeline: visit the website or call 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue: visit the website or call 1300 22 4636
- MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
- Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
- For access to Queensland Health mental health services 24/7 phone 1300 MH CALL (1300 64 2255).
Associate Professor Allan said it’s also important to eat healthy and limit your alcohol intake over the festive season.
“What we eat and drink is linked to our mood and both our physical and mental health,” Associate Professor Allan said.
“While many of us are guilty of overindulging over the festive season, it’s important to eat and drink alcohol in moderation as much as possible.”
If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s alcohol or other drug use, call Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS), a free, 24/7 anonymous and confidential telephone counselling and information service on 1800 177 833.
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