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People having a tough time over the Festive Season should contact beyondblue’s new and unique Support Service

Woman stressed over Christmas
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While Christmas is a time of joy for millions of Australians, for many others it is a time of loneliness, financial pressure or family stress.

While Christmas is a time of joy for millions of Australians, for many others it is a time of loneliness, financial pressure or family stress.

To help people having a tough time at Christmas or during the year, beyondblue recently upgraded its Support Service, which includes the only telephone/online service in Australia employing mental health professionals exclusively. The upgrade also saw the development of an online chat service that is available between 4-10pm daily and which is complemented by an email service that is responded to within 24 hours.

beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell AO said the stress and pressures associated with Christmas and New Year may lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety in vulnerable people, and we want them to know support is available.

“For many people, Christmas holidays mean fun and relaxation, but for others the festive season can be a time of stress, overwhelming financial pressures, disappointment and loneliness,” she said.

“If people feel they need help coping, they can contact the mental health professionals who staff the beyondblue Support Service. People can phone on 1300 22 4636, email or use the online chat service via our website for free short-term, solutions-focused counselling. You don’t have to give your name if you don’t want to.

“Having the opportunity to talk to a trained mental health professional and retain your anonymity, suddenly means that taking action to get help isn’t such a scary proposition after all. And the fact 85,000 people contacted us for help last financial year means we must be doing something right.

“With technology changing dramatically since our telephone service was established seven years ago, the recently-introduced online live chat service has been a runaway success, especially with young people. Similarly, many people prefer to email about their concerns, rather than having to talk to someone – hence the broadening of both our email and online chat services. You can contact us any time of the day or night on 1300 22 4636 or via our website

“Around one million people in Australia have depression and over two million live with an anxiety disorder. Many people with these conditions remain undiagnosed and they don’t seek help because they think any type of mental health problem means they are weak, or alternatively they think their problems are just part of their personality. Check or or contact the Support Service to take the first step to recovery,” Ms Carnell said. 

Holiday Tips for looking after yourself or someone you’re concerned about

  • Being alone when everyone else seems to be with their families may lead people to focus on their losses. Family separation as a result of distance, divorce or bereavement may bring back painful memories or evoke strong emotions. Social isolation is a risk factor for depression, so think realistically about the holidays and plan to spend time around people who can support you.
  • If you feel down, anxious or fragile, it’s not a good idea to take drugs or drink alcohol to try to make yourself feel better. If you’re depressed or have an anxiety disorder, you can end up in a far worse place by self-medicating. You need to talk to a health professional about treatments that work.
  • If you’re concerned about a friend or family member, common symptoms of depression and anxiety to watch for include a tendency to withdraw from activities, moodiness that’s out of character, doing things more slowly than usual or becoming angry easily. You can call the Support Service on their behalf.

(Source: beyondblue)

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Posted On: 28 December, 2013
Modified On: 28 August, 2014

Created by: myVMC