Christmas ‘time of lonely suffering’

WA Association for Mental Health executive director Rod Astbury has spoken up about the connection between Christmas and mental health, encouraging people to look out for others this festive season.

‘Christmas can raise some difficult feelings for people to deal with. Christmas has such a focus on families; often when people are disconnected with family, Christmas is a time that those feelings really come to the surface,’ Mr Astbury said.

If family relationships do not exist, this could increase the sense of distress, he added. ‘While attitudes have changed it’s too often that people feel ashamed about expressing how they feel,’ he said.

Whether people were disconnected from family, lived away from home or would be experiencing the first Christmas since a loved one had died, sharing feelings with someone else was often the best way to deal with issues.

There were various community events organised over the festive season where the lonely had the chance to meet new people.

Mr Astbury called on the public to open up their homes to friends in need and include them over the holidays.

Links to support services can be found at http://waamh.org.au