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Community & Business

25 December, 2020

Where you can get mental health support this Christmas

Christmas can be stressful and challenging, but several mental health organisations will be working around the clock to offer support.

By Phil Brandel

Christmas can be stressful and challenging, but several mental health organisations will be working around the clock to offer support.

Mental health support

Christmas can be stressful and challenging, but several mental health organisations will be working around the clock to offer support.

Beyond Blue lead clinical adviser Grant Blashki says the organisation has seen a large increase in demand during a tough year, with families separated and people coming under financial pressure.

He recommends people take care of themselves in coming weeks by accepting that 2020 was difficult and managing their expectations for the festive season.

“More broadly, if you are someone that experiences depression or anxiety, keep up your regular routines, like regular exercise, trying to get enough sleep … and don’t overdo the alcohol, that’s a bit of a trap,” Dr Blashki said.

For those who are struggling with their mental health, Beyond Blue will be providing support via its phone line (1300 22 46 36). Online, moderated forums relating to various issues are also available at beyondblue.org.au.

Other services include Lifeline, which will continue offering round-the-clock support over the phone (13 11 14). The organisation also has a text service (0477 13 11 14) available from midday to midnight AEDT, and an online chat service running from 7pm to midnight AEDT at lifeline.org.au.

Young Australians aged between five and 25 have access to Kids Helpline, run by Yourtown, with chief executive Tracy Adams encouraging them to get in touch if they want to talk to someone. The service is operating 24/7 at 1800 55 1800 or online at kidshelpline.com.au.

“You don’t have to feel alone. You can connect to a counsellor via phone, email and web counselling with no issue too big or small,” Ms Adams said in a statement.

“There is no shame in seeking help from our free service.”

Domestic violence support

For those dealing with issues relating to domestic violence and sexual abuse, the 1800 RESPECT national telehealth service will also be operating 24 hours a day.

While anyone in immediate danger should call Triple Zero (000), they can contact 1800 RESPECT over the phone (1800 737 732) or via the online chat (1800respect.org.au) to speak with a qualified counsellor.

“You are not alone,” national program manager Melonie Sheehan said. “There is plenty of support available. You can contact 1800 RESPECT wherever you are, at any time.

“We can provide information, support, counselling, safety planning, and direct you to local or state and territory-basic crisis services as required.”

Ms Sheehan said 1800 RESPECT could also help those worried that someone they know may be experiencing domestic or family violence, as the counsellors know how best to support a person in that situation.

“The right support from family, friends and neighbours, and colleagues too, can make a huge difference to someone who is experiencing or is at risk of experiencing domestic violence,” she said.

The Men’s Referral Service also provides advice for men on domestic violence and can be contacted on 1300 766 491.



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