Reach Out

For some, Christmas is the most stressful, anxiety inducing, lonely, volatile time of the year.

Presents, decorations, food, time off work. Where does all the money come from? It certainly doesn’t grow on Christmas trees, that’s for sure. If only.

Homes without heating or food, or worse no homes at all. Homelessness is high at Christmas, with many sleeping on the streets in icy conditions. Some of those people (and don’t mistake, it can happen to anyone) won’t wake up from that sleep.

Then there’s addiction; a hard battle to fight at Christmas. Temptation is everywhere. Over indulgence is the theme of the day for most of us and the root cause of the addiction looms large at this highly pressurised time of year.

Terrifyingly, incidents of violence increase drastically at Christmas, leaving many women and children (men too of course, although statistically less) in grave danger. It’s a truly frightening season for those living with domestic violence and sadly some victims will not see another. If that is you, make yourself safe, please. You absolutely do not deserve this and they will not change.

It’s a time where we should be concerning ourselves less with presents and more with our elderly neighbour who lives alone or checking in on the friend who suffers with mental health issues. Are they ok? Are they really? But don’t ask, if you’re not prepared to hear the honest answer.

It’s time to buy a couple of extra bits of food for your local Foodbank or sanitary towels for the nearest women’s refuge. But only spend what you can afford. Helping others should not come at the cost of your own safety or mental health. Do what you can but do so responsibly. You cannot help others if you put yourself in a compromised situation.

It’s a time to open up your home and your heart. If you know that a friend or relative is struggling but won’t talk about it, sneakily check their cupboards the next time you pop in to see what food they need; make Christmas a dry one if you know one of your guests is battling an alcohol problem.

Offer to go to counselling sessions.

Offer to help manage finances.

Offer help with applications.

Offer a safe haven for someone who needs to escape.

Offer a coat or pair of boots.

Offer a bag of shopping.

Offer help finding accomodation.

Offer a cuppa.

Offer your time.

Offer your understanding.

Offer a hug.

If you’re feeling the strain of Christmas, reach out to someone. I can guarantee the problem will not seem half as bad if you talk with a friend or family member, there’s always something that can be done. Or if you cannot talk with someone you know, there are numerous resources out there. Phone lines, text services, websites and drop-in centres who will listen and advise and lessen the burden. People want to help. People care.

Nobody deserves to be alone.

Nobody deserves to be desperately sad.

Nobody deserves to lose their life to suicide.

Nobody deserves to go without food, a home or warmth.

Nobody deserves to live in fear.

Reach out with love or reach out for help and we’ll meet in the middle with our hands.

————————————————————

Below is a list of useful numbers, websites and resources. It is in no way exhaustive, there are lots of different centres and helplines available, for every kind of problem and there is always someone who can help.

ANXIETY UK

Provides support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.

03444 775 774

www.anxietyuk.org.uk

BIPOLAR UK

A charity helping people living with manic depression or bipolar disorder.

www.bipolaruk.org.uk

CALM

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.

0800 58 58 58

www.thecalmzone.net

MEN’S HEALTH FORUM

24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.

www.menshealthforum.org.uk

MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION

Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.

www.mentalhealth.org.uk

MIND

Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.

0300 123 3393

www.mind.org.uk

NO PANIC

Offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Offers a course to help overcome your phobia or OCD.

0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am to 10pm)

www.nopanic.org.uk

OCD ACTION

Support for people with OCD. Includes information on treatment and online resources.

0845 390 6232

www.ocdaction.org.uk

OCD UK

A charity run by people with OCD, for people with OCD. Includes facts, news and treatments.

0845 120 3778

www.ocduk.org

PAPYRUS

Young suicide prevention society.

0800 068 4141 (Mon to Fri 10am-5pm and 7pm-10pm; 2pm-5pm weekends)

www.papyrus-uk.org

RETHINK MENTAL ILLNESS

Support and advice for people living with mental illness.

0300 5000 927

www.rethink.org

SHOUT UK

Free 24/7 crisis support.

Text SHOUT to 85258

http://www.giveusashout.org/

SAMARITANS

Confidential support for people experiencing distress or despair.

Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline

www.samaritans.org.uk

SANE

Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families / carers.

0300 304 7000 ( 4.30pm to 10.30pm)

Textcare: comfort and care via text message, sent when the person needs it most: www.sane.org.uk/textcare

www.sane.org.uk/supportforum

www.sane.org.uk/support

YOUNGMINDS

Information on child and adolescent mental health.

Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)

www.youngminds.org.uk

NSPCC

0800 1111 for Childline for children (24-hour helpline)

0808 800 5000 for adults concerned about a child (24-hour helpline)

www.nspcc.org.uk

REFUGE

Advice on domestic violence.

0808 2000 247 (24-hour helpline)

www.refuge.org.uk

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

0845 769 7555 (24-hour helpline)

www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk

NATIONAL GAMBLING HELPLINE

0808 8020 133

www.begambleaware.org

NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS

0300 999 1212

www.ukna.org

ALZHEIMER’S

0300 222 1122

www.alzheimers.org.uk

RAPE CRISIS

0808 802 9999 (daily, 12pm to 2.30pm and 7pm to 9.30pm

www.rapecrisis.org.uk

VICTIM SUPPORT

0808 168 9111 (24-hour helpline)

www.victimsupport.org

BEAT (for help with eating disorders)

0808 801 0677 (adults)

0808 801 0711 (for under-18s)

www.b-eat.co.uk

MENCAP

Charity working with people with a learning disability, their families and carers.

www.mencap.org.uk

FAMILY LIVES

Advice on all aspects of parenting, including dealing with bullying.

Phone: 0808 800 2222

www.familylives.org.uk

RELATE

Website: www.relate.org.uk

CRISIS

The National charity for homelessness.

www.crisis.org.uk/get-help/

SHELTER

Support with homelessness and housing issues.

0808 8004444

https://england.shelter.org.uk/get_help

NATIONAL GRID

0800 111999

UNITED UTILITIES

0345 672 2888

HOUSING RIGHTS

028 9024 5640

Mortgage Debt 0300 32303

TERENCE HIGGINS TRUST

Emotional support, information and advice for people affected by HIV or with concerns about sexual health.

0808 802 122

https://www.tht.org.uk/

MONEY ADVICE TRUST

Free advice and resources to help people deal with debt.

0808 808 4000

CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAU

Advice to help you find a solution whatever the problem.

Adviceline: 03444 111 444

Text relay: 03444 111 445

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/