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Struggling over Christmas? Reach out for help, says NHS

Stressed person

While the festive period can be a time of fun, it is also common for people to feel lonely, stressed or worried.

The region's NHS is reminding everyone that no matter how negative a situation feels, there is help at hand over the holiday period.

Kate O'Brien, Director of Transformation for the NHS's North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), said: "We want Christmas to be happy for everyone, but for many people it can be a difficult and stressful time. Whether it's money worries, missing loved ones, relationships or loneliness, there is help, support, and someone who cares.

"If you're struggling over Christmas, please ask for help when you need it. It's much better to get a helping hand early rather than leaving it to get worse."

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) has launched a ‘Winter Wellness’ campaign offering advice to anyone who is struggling. 

Karen O’Rourke, Patient Information Centre Manager at CNTW, said: “The festive season can be a time of immense pressure, and it’s often easy to neglect your own personal wellbeing. There are also the darker nights, colder weather and hectic schedules that can make people feel increasingly isolated or lonely.

“We want people to know that you don’t have to feel like this, and to make it as easy as possible to find the support you need.”

As part of the campaign, CNTW has been sending information leaflets and posters to locations across the region, including surgeries, libraries, universities and job centres. There are also wellbeing tips and advice on helping a loved one seek help on the Trust’s social media feeds. (Instagram @cntw.nhs, Twitter @CNTWNHS, and on Facebook search ‘CNTW’.)

In the south of the region, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV), which provides mental health services for people living in Teesside, County Durham, Darlington, North Yorkshire and Selby, is also encouraging people to seek emotional support over Christmas.  The Trust is reminding people to seek support early if they notice a change in how they’re feeling as getting help sooner can help you get better more quickly.

As well as offering a 24-hour crisis-line the Trust can be contacted through their social media channels including Facebook (search TEWV), Twitter @TEWV and Instagram @tewvnhsft. All of the social media options and the website www.tewv.nhs.uk include wellbeing advice and tips.

“We understand that Christmas can be a really tough time for many people, with all sorts of pressures such as the cost of living, deprivation, isolation and worry affecting how they feel,” says Dr Hannah Crawford, TEWV's Director of Therapies. “We’re here to offer support throughout the festive period to anybody in our communities who urgently needs it.”

If you need urgent support, help is available 24/7:

North Tyneside and Northumberland

  • Adults – 0800 652 2861
  • Children and young people – 0800 652 2862
  • Text for Deaf service users – 07887 625 277

Newcastle and Gateshead

  • Adults – 0800 652 2863
  • Children and young people – 0800 652 2864
  • Text for Deaf service users – 07919 228 548

North Cumbria

  • Adults – 0800 652 2865
  • Children and young people – 0800 652 2865
  • Text for Deaf service users – 07795 656 226

Sunderland and South Tyneside

  • Adults – 0800 652 2867
  • Children and young people – 0800 652 2868
  • Text for Deaf service users – 07889 036 280

Teesside, County Durham, Darlington, North Yorkshire and Selby

  • Crisis line - 0800 051 6171
  • County Durham and Darlington listening service - 0800 0516 171(Option 1, then 3)
  • Teesside listening service, call 0800 0516 171(Option 3, then 3)

Other support

  • Samaritans – for everyone. Call 116 123, email: jo@samaritans.org, 24 hour support
  • Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men. Call 0800 58 58 58, from 5pm to midnight every day
  • Papyrus – for people under 35. Call 0800 068 41 41, Mon to Fri 9am to 10pm, weekends and bank holidays 2pm to 10pm Text 07860 039967, email: pat@papyrus-uk.org
  • For tips on coping if Christmas is a struggle, visit mind.org.uk.

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