Feeling down this Christmas? Help is at hand.

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Commonly Christmas is thought of as a time for festive cheer, however not everyone feels full of the joys during the holiday period.

Commonly Christmas is thought of as a time for festive cheer, however not everyone feels full of the joys during the holiday period.

Many people are affected by the blues during this season whether it is due to feeling lonely, grieving for a lost loved one or even being overcome by what is known as seasonal affective disorder where the bad weather and darker days get you down.

Some people feel tense about the holidays; they may not enjoy crowds or become apprehensive about seeing relatives they may not have seen for some time. Whatever the reason, there is help out there for those of you who may feel a little down, alone or overwhelmed this Christmas.

Mental Health nurse and secretary of Longford Mental Health Association Ann Howard said it is important to reach out to family and friends at this time of year; “If you’re feeling down call a neighbour or a family member. You can’t suffer in silence but your family won’t always know if there is something wrong with you.”

Ann stressed the significance of friendship and surrounding yourself with positivity; “call a friend and use the bonds of friendship that are there. Don’t link with people who have a negative effect on you because they will get you down even more.”

For those who have been bereaved this past year Ann suggests breaking the usual routine this Christmas and doing something different to the norm. This could be having dinner elsewhere or going to mass at a different time, even replacing the traditional turkey with something else which won’t remind you so much of the missing loved one.

There are many helplines out there operating with a willingness to listen to anyone who needs to reach out. The Samaritans have a 24-hour support service which can be contacted on 1850-609090. The Aware helpline is a dial away on 1890-303302. Spunout.ie is a website which offers a range of advice for those who don’t know where else to turn. ​The 1life service is available to anyone living in the Republic of Ireland, who may be feeling suicidal, in crisis or worried about a loved one or friend they can be contacted on 1800-247100 or by texting “HELP” to 51444.

For a more localised service the Community Mental Health Centre Longford can be reached at 043-3346992 if you wish to make a regular face-to-face appointment with a professional.

Remember you are not alone; there are many places for you to turn. If you feel down just speaking to someone will instantly relieve you of your burden. Don’t suffer in silence.