Lower north shore residents are being encouraged to look after their mental fitness this Christmas.

By ANNA USHER

As Lifeline prepares for its busiest time of year, Australians are being encouraged to take time out to plan how they will cope with challenges over the coming weeks and consider whether they – or someone they know – might need additional support.

Lifeline CEO Colin Seery says the high volume of people reaching out for help this time of year can reflect increased personal stress indicators in the community, like financial pressures, increased family conflict, loneliness and isolation or the grief of having lost a loved one.

Christmas is the loneliest time of the year for many in our community.

“The holidays are a significant time of the year for people who need our help,” Mr Seery said.

“This period can be an emotional and psychological minefield for those who have experienced loss, grief, struggle, isolation and pain.”

“The idea of togetherness traditionally associated with holidays can also exacerbate the intense loneliness many people feel.”

“Even those of us who are in a position to gather with friends or family find that it can bring its own set of challenges – family turmoil, the weight of expectations, old wounds and disappointment,” said Mr Seery.

Lifeline expects up to 4000 phone calls and text messages from depressed people this Christmas Day.

As we approach the busiest time of the year, Lifeline is preparing for daily peaks of 4000 interactions on the organisation’s 24/7 telephone crisis line, webchat, and text services.

“It is really important that no one feels they have to face this holiday season alone. Please, if you feel you need support, reach out to someone you know or call Lifeline. Our Crisis Supporters will continue to be available on our 13 11 14 phone service as well as our text and chat channels, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

“So, whether it’s 3am on Christmas Day, or 11pm on New Year’s Eve, please know that Lifeline will be ready to listen and support you,” urges Mr Seery.

To ensure Lifeline has enough crisis counsellors available around the clock to support people in need, the organisation considers historical call number patterns, average call lengths, and recently observed trends.

Lifeline is open 24/7 and all you need to do is call 13 11 14 for immediate support.

Contact volumes traditionally peak at approximately 5-6% above average on the days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and on the day immediately after the New Year’s Day Public Holiday.

To help people prepare for the challenging weeks ahead, Lifeline is also sharing two free Wellness Guides which outline a series of simple and useful tips to help relieve the stress, disappointment and loneliness that the holiday season can bring.

These range from including periods of rest, relaxation and reflection as you prepare for the start of a new year, listening to what your body is telling you and supporting a loved one over the holidays.

“We hope these informative Wellness Guides will give you the tools and resources to look after yourself and those you love – and no matter where you are these holidays, please know Lifeline is here for you,” said Mr Seery.

If you, or someone you know are feeling overwhelmed, please contact Lifeline immediately.

Download your free Lifeline wellness guides HERE to support yourself and the ones you love these holidays.

If you, or someone you know are feeling overwhelmed, we encourage you to connect with Lifeline in the way you feel most comfortable.

You can phone Lifeline to speak to a Crisis Supporter on 13 11 14 (24 hours/7 days), text 0477 131 114 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or chat to Lifeline online at www.lifeline.org.au (24/7).

To donate to Lifeline, visit the WEBSITE.