16/12/2010 17:05 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

In A Crisis? Get Help Now For A Happy Christmas

Christmas can be far from merry if there's something about your life you really don't like. All this jolliness and shiny-happy-family thing can really push our emotional and psychological buttons.

It's often painful to be reminded that we don't have a loving relationship, a cosy family to go home to, or good friends to party with. Christmas can suck, basically.

Flickr, stephmcg

On the plus side, such strong pressure inspires many of us to bite the bullet and seek help to get back on the road to happiness.

Calls for help rise in the new year
Last January, - the online directory of qualified counsellors and psychotherapists - saw a 31% rise in the number of searches for a qualified talking therapist.

It's a similar story at the Samaritans. Distress calls to their helpline rose last Christmas and are doing the same this year.

Act now before things get worse
Psychotherapist and clinical advisor Jules McClean suggests seeking help before the festive period and start the New Year with renewed hope for the future.

"People often deny their feelings of despair in order to 'get on with it' and 'not let everyone down' but this often results in emotional meltdown as the pressure to be perfect and enjoy themselves reaches crisis point over Christmas."

"It would be healthier if people were to place more value on themselves and their emotional wellbeing by finding suitable help prior to breaking point. This could make a positive difference and enable people to enjoy this time of the year. At least more than if they try to cope with their problems alone."

Where to get help
Where can I go for help, who do I contact, how do I find the right therapist me? There are lots of important questions that come up when you're in distress.

To help answer them, here's a list of professional organisations that can point in you in the right direction:
Lists full profiles, detailing their areas of expertise, their fees, and the kind of person they are. Also lists therapists offering a telephone service for those who need help fast.

UK Council for Psychotherapy

Lets you search accredited psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors. Plus advises on the different 'talking therapies' and how to choose a therapist.

Register of Trauma Specialists
Lists UK-wide trauma therapists and counsellors who agree to the RTS' codes of ethics.

Emergency! I
If you need to speak to someone urgently, try:
Samaritans, 08457 90 90 90 (ROI - 1850 60 90 90)
Don't recommend therapists but provides non-judgmental emotional support, 24 hours a day by telephone, email, letter, and face to face.

SANEline, 0845 767 8000
A national out-of-hours telephone helpline open 6pm to 11pm 365 days a year. Offers both emotional support and information for people affected by mental health problems.

Your GP or NHS Direct, 0845 4647
Call your GP. Or your local accident and emergency room generally provides 24-hour psychiatric cover.

Perhaps you recognise yourself in what's talked about here? Or have advice or recommendations of your own on how to cope at Christmas? If so, please leave a comment.

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