Lifeline preparing for thousands of Christmas calls
IT'LL be business as usual for Lifeline volunteers on Christmas, as feelings of loneliness and the pressure to be happy heighten amid the festivities.
The mental health service is expecting a whopping 2500 calls on Christmas Day and more in the days after as people's difficulties appear more "acute".
"It's a time when there's a lot of societal pressure to celebrate," Lifeline spokeswoman Ina Mullin said on Sunday.
"This pressure can bring people to breaking point when they're already feeling overwhelmed.
"We usually find more people call us post-Christmas. This may be because in the lead up to Christmas there is plenty of change to routine."
NATIONAL 24/7 CRISIS SERVICES
The organisation has advised people alone on the day to reach out by volunteering at a charity or attending community events.
The Australian Medical Association said a focus on preparation can reduce the typical stress of the season.
"Pressure and stress can build up due to housing more people, shopping, cooking, entertaining or travelling," AMA president Tony Barton said.
"This can place severe pressure on people, which can lead to symptoms of anxiety, anger, and difficulty sleeping.
"The key is to get organised and delegate the jobs where possible."
Meanwhile, Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government was exploring the creation of "safe spaces" for adults with mental health issues.
The idea is an extension of the Headspace concept that has been launched for youths, which fills the gap between the GP and hospital.
He also urged people feeling anxious, lonely or depressed over Christmas to reach out.
"Over this period, I want to encourage those seeking help to visit the Head to Health website - a dedicated online destination that helps people find free or low-cost online and phone mental health services in a private, secure and anonymous way," Mr Hunt said.
If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au