Have you considered people’s mental health at Christmas time?

“The Greatest Gift they’ll Get This Year is Life…”. We are sure you are all aware of the lyric for the 1984 Christmas number one, and the meaning behind it at the time. But, the lyrics can also be apparent for those in the present day. So, we thought we would write a blog about the song, and it’s meaning for those over 30 years later.

Moreover, we will also discuss the importance of SHOUT’s work and ‘shout’ about how their crisis volunteers can help people this Christmas time, but also throughout the whole year.

“It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid…”

The opening lyrics to the Band Aid ballad. However, this is not always the case.

Christmas is a time where a lot of people are afraid, anxious or depressed about the festive season. 25% of people say Christmas makes their mental health worse. With people struggling the most with anxiety and depression. Additionally, nearly 60% of people have experienced panic attacks over the festive period.

With statistics like this, it is critical to remember that yes, even though this time of year is for making memories, for others, it can be too daunting.

Thoughts such as the fear of letting a loved one down at this time of year by having to work can dominate someone’s thought process. Or maybe people can not afford their child’s dream present. Perhaps, someone lives alone and has no one to share this particular time of the year with. These are all thoughts people can have, which can affect their mental health at Christmas time.

“At Christmas time, we let in light and we banish shade…”

For some, the thought of letting in light and not sitting in the dark is quite scary. Christmas parties, family get-togethers or work parties are perfect examples of occasions where there is a constant pressure to socialise.

These events, for those suffering from poor mental health, can be a real struggle. You may notice colleagues or family members shying away from the social side of Christmas. The other side to this could be the over drinking to feel better and forget.

“And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom…”

It is not just the actual day that can affect our mental health. The whole of the festive period can leave us with an impending sense of doom.

Knowing January is around the corner, it can create a sense of anxiousness within people. Furthermore, with some people getting their pay earlier in December, they now head into debt to buy our presents or to socialise. With payday still three weeks away, it is easy to slide into a poor state of mental health.

“Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?”

Christmas is synonymous with bringing the family together. With all generations of families uniting to celebrate. As a result, it is easy to overlook those who are not the life and soul of the party but are instead sitting back, letting the world go by. “It’s just a phase”, “Teenagers”, “Grumpy old man”. People will band these phrases around at Christmas. Naturally, in most cases, they will mean nothing, and no one will come to any harm. However, what if this is not the case? Therefore, take the time to find out why these people are acting the way they are. Instead of pouring another drink, shrugging them off and carrying on.

“Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you”

Mental health awareness is getting better, but the stigma is still rife. Especially mental health at Christmas time, it is easy to forget about those who are suffering. Overall, people still lack the skills required to talk to somebody suffering or do not know how to cope with a situation. Understandably, we can’t expect everybody to be a mental health expert. Therefore, not everybody can talk openly with somebody who has mental health issues. However, this leads us to why we wrote this blog.

“The greatest gift they will get this year is life”

Mental health at Christmas time is becoming a rising concern. Yes, people are becoming more and more aware of mental health issues, but as discussed, not everyone can be a mental health first aider. But, that is where SHOUT come in. 

SHOUT is a text number service giving people who have mental health issues a place to go. Trained crisis volunteers can text someone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Amazingly, last December, SHOUT took more than 21,000 conversations with around 14,000 texters. Within those, 1 in 3 discussions mentioned feelings of depression and sadness. With an additional 1 in 5 saying feelings of loneliness and isolation. Whatever you’re going through, you don’t have to face it alone.

The beauty of this number is the anonymity it gives it texters as there is no way of knowing any information unless the texter wants the volunteer to know. The crisis Volunteers have a host of resources that can be sent to the texter. The service is FREE on all major networks.

Their number: 85258 really could be the gift of life for somebody this Christmas. Just texting this number could prevent somebody from completing suicide, or it could be the first steps somebody takes to making a recovery. That is why we are ensuring as many people are aware of SHOUT’s exceptional services. 

Mental Health at Christmas time is always a difficult subject to talk about, but it could be the most important conversation this season. For more information regarding SHOUT, make sure to head to their website. But for resources regarding aspects of mental health, check out another of our blogs