LIFESTYLE
14/12/2017 16:02 GMT | Updated 15/12/2017 09:48 GMT

Heartbreaking Survey Reveals One In 10 Have Considered Suicide 'Because Of The Festive Period'

Mental health charity Mind reminds people they aren't alone.

Almost one in 10 people have considered taking their own lives because of the festive period, with a similar number considering harming themselves.

That’s according to new research from mental health charity Mind, which found over a quarter of people (26%) would not feel able to ask for help at Christmas if they were struggling emotionally.

The charity has called on people to donate to its Christmas Appeal to ensure no one has to cope on their own this Christmas.

Becky Gore, 30, from Swansea, experiences panic attacks and depression. She credits Mind’s online service for saving her life during her darkest moments.

“I’ve been close to ending my life and just reading a story on the website of somebody in a similar situation has given me a small glimmer of hope,” she said.

“To keep going. To try again the next day. To choose hope, despite the darkness.”

Kerkez via Getty Images

Mind’s poll of 2,051 people also found that one third of people (36%) are too embarrassed to admit they are lonely at Christmas.

The research comes in the same week that Professor Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for the NHS in England, said loneliness combined with cold weather could prove “lethal” this winter. 

The top nurse warned that loneliness and isolation pose a threat to both physical and mental health for people of all ages, not just the elderly.

Although loneliness is often associated with older people, the age group most likely to say they’re embarrassed to admit they’re lonely at Christmas is 18 to 24-year-olds (45%), according to Mind’s research.

Two in five people (38%) said they would be less likely to talk about their mental health with loved ones at Christmas time, with women more likely to feel this way than men.

One in five said when they are sad or upset they feel like they have nowhere to turn for support. This figure rises to almost half (49%) among people experiencing mental health problems.

The effects of not feeling able to reach out for support for your emotional wellbeing at Christmas can be potentially devastating, the charity warned.

Stephen Buckley, head of information at Mind, told HuffPost UK: “For most people Christmas is something to look forward to, a time for celebration and relaxation. However for some the festive period can be extremely stressful, with financial concerns, family tensions and the pressure of providing the ‘perfect Christmas’ leaving us isolated and fraught with worry. 

“The festive period is often seen as a time for family members to gather together but the threat of family tensions combined with pressure of juggling a variety of commitments, stress and anxiety can easily build. Equally for those who are spending Christmas alone, being away from loved ones can lead to feeling isolated and lonely and trigger feelings of depression. 

“If you already have a mental health problem Christmas can exacerbate symptoms and for some this may put them at greater risk of self-harming or even taking their own life.

“Ensuring there is a support network around you over the festive period can be vital if you are not feeling so good. We know that over half of people who have experienced depression or anxiety isolate themselves from loved ones.

“The good news is that there is support available at Christmas, but it’s vital to reach out to someone you trust as the first step to getting that support - whether that’s a loved one or your GP. You can read more about Mind’s tips over the Christmas period at www.mind.org.uk/christmas.”

Useful websites and helplines:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@getconnected.org.uk