Christmas can be tough: Four ways to support each other this festive season

Kaitlyn JohnsonAlbany Advertiser
Kaitlin Johnson is the suicide prevention co-ordinator at Palmerston in Albany.
Camera IconKaitlin Johnson is the suicide prevention co-ordinator at Palmerston in Albany. Credit: David Broadway

As we approach the end of 2023, the Christmas festivities ramp up around the community.

Christmas is known for being a merry, jolly, and bright time of year when our streets and shops become lined with decorations and carols playing, plenty of food, events and gift-giving.

For many, this is a special time of year that people look forward to.

But for some people, the festive season can be one of the toughest times of the year.

Many people may be struggling with financial pressure, work stress, loneliness, illness, or missing loved ones who are no longer with us.

For some, the holiday period can be overwhelming, stressful, and bring up feelings of sadness, grief, and nostalgia.

There are several ways we can help support each other this festive season.

1. Check-in

If you know someone who has had a tough year or may be struggling lately, make time to check in with them.

Asking someone to catch up over a cup of tea or coffee can be a great way to connect and see how they’re doing.

2. Include them

If you can, consider extending an invitation to someone who may be alone or struggling over the festive season.

Alternatively, drop off a meal or write them a card to show them you care and are thinking of them.

Small gestures can make a world of difference.

3. Listen and acknowledge

If someone isn’t feeling up to celebrating, remind them it is OK to feel overwhelmed, sad, or lost at this time of year.

Allow them to reflect on their emotions and support them to explore ways to ease these feelings and manage stressors, or gently encourage them to connect with others. For those who are grieving, chat with them about how they wish to honour their loved one’s memory over the holiday season.

There are many ways to include loved ones who have passed in your festivities such as setting a place for them at the table, visiting their resting place, including their names on Christmas cards, or displaying a special ornament.

4. Connect them to professional help

If you are concerned for your or someone else’s mental health, or you feel someone needs extra support, seek assistance by calling:

Lifeline: 13 11 14 Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

For a list of local supports available, please visit: amityhealth.com.au/helplines-and-links

Kaitlin Johnson is the suicide prevention coordinator at Palmerston in Albany.

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