It’s Christmas! Eat, drink and be merry – but please think of others

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Christmas is supposed to be an exciting, fun and present-filled time of the year with everyone surrounded by family on the big day.  But that’s not the reality for many.

In fact the fantasy image served up by marketeers only serves to make those who can’t live up to this ideal feel more low and isolated. And though they may not feel like it, they’re certainly not the only ones.

Last week, boxer Tyson Fury spoke from the heart at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards about his recovery from mental health problems. He urged anyone struggling to get help. Many other high profile celebrities have spoken out about their own mental health issues in a bid to make others realise they are not alone.

The script of iconic Christmas film ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ has appeared on station platforms up and down the country in a festive campaign from Virgin Trains in partnership with charity Rethink Mental Illness. The platform text included online links to simple ways to intervene when someone is struggling with poor mental health.

Closer to home, we recently met with one of the team behind The Mind Map, a Liverpool social enterprise which offers magazine content, mental health first aid training and signposting to free mental health services. We particularly like their ‘We Love Life’ style interviews with young people out and about, which are designed to make the subjects and their peers focus on mental health and well-being in an engaging, matter-of-fact and non-judgemental way.

There’s no doubt Christmas can be a stressful time whether you live with a mental health issue or not.  We truly wish everyone a healthy and happy Christmas and New Year but, just in case, click here for some helpful tips from mental health charity MIND for how to stay mentally well over the festive season.

And for those who are really struggling to cope, remember the Samaritans Helpline is open all day, every day – even Christmas Day – on 116 123.