Dr Navin Kumta, CCG chair, said: “Despite the popular myth, the winter holiday season can be demanding and stressful for many people.
“If someone has existing worries, Christmas and the New Year can exacerbate the situation. There may be family pressures, unrealistic expectations and money worries – but the urge to make sure everyone is happy and having a good time adds to the strain.”
For people already coping with serious problems in their lives, the festive season may make them feel significantly worse.
Of course, it’s not just Christmas that can cause stress. People with money or work worries, relationship worries or those who care for someone with a long-term health condition can also be at higher risk of anxiety and depression.
That’s why the CCG is reminding people that support is available.
Dr Kumta said: “If someone is experiencing ongoing worries and problems, these will never vanish just because it’s Christmas. Many people perceive a huge gap between the romance and the reality of the festive season.
“It’s easy to be lulled into thinking that everyone else is having a wonderful time – but this perception is often misguided. People who live on their own can experience a great deal of sadness at this time of year.
“There’s no need for people to pretend they’re happy just because it’s Christmas. Talk to friends, talk to family and say how you’re feeling.
“If anyone feels that their sadness and depression is affecting their day-to-day life, they should seek help and not suffer in silence.”
At Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT), staff are embracing the Listen Up! campaign and are encouraging everyone to remember the importance of listening. Take time this holiday season and spend some time listening to a loved one, family or a friend. It might be all they need.
Don’t forget if you’re worried about someone you think needs urgent help, contact KMPT’s Single Point of Access on 0300 222 0123. If you use KMPT services, call the Crisis Resolution Home Treatment team if you need them.
The Mental Health Matters helpline (0800 107 0160) offers confidential emotional support and guidance for people in Kent and Medway 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Helpline staff are trained in counselling, so can provide support over the phone.
And they also have details of local and national services if people want more support.
Samaritans provides confidential support for anyone feeling down, depressed or anxious, as well as those who may be feeling despair. Volunteers can be contacted 24/7 on 116 123 (UK), or email firstname.lastname@example.org or face-to-face; visit www.samaritans.org for details of your local branch.
People whose daily lives are being affected by anxiety, depression or other common mental health problems may also be eligible for free NHS talking therapy.
People can refer themselves for a talking therapy – the details are on the Live It Well website (www.liveitwell.org.uk) – or they can talk to their GP about it.
The website, which is for Kent and Medway, also has details of ways to wellbeing which can make it easier to cope and to get more out of life in general.
For helpful advice and information, visit the Live It Well website www.liveitwell.org.uk.
NHS Ashford Clinical Commissioning Group 21 December 2016