SCOTLAND’S Mental Health Minister has encouraged people who are experiencing depression, low moods or anxiety over the holidays to seek help.
Clare Haughey said the festive period can be difficult for some people and she urged them not to suffer alone.
Speaking ahead of a visit to the Breathing Space call centre in Glasgow, which provides a free, confidential phone line for people with anxiety, depression or low mood, she said: “We have greater awareness of mental health issues than ever before.
“While many of us are celebrating at Christmas we know it can be a difficult time of year for some people.
“I want people to know that they do not need to suffer alone, support is available and no-one should ever feel afraid to ask for help if they feel depressed or anxious.
“I would urge anyone who is feeling low or anxious to reach out to Breathing Space, Samaritans or other services to make sure they get help.
“This time of year can be overwhelming, and we should all aim to be more aware of this and do what we need to reduce unnecessary stress and anxiety.
“I also want to thank everyone across the country – in the NHS, social services, the third sector and in local communities – who is working to ensure that people in distress have someone to help them.”
Tony McLaren, Breathing Space national co-ordinator, added: “For people suffering with low mood, anxiety or depression, the festive season can be a really difficult time.
“Sometimes our thoughts and feelings can overwhelm us and it’s important that we talk to someone when we need to.
“Breathing Space is here for when people need a listening ear.”
Further help is available from Samaritans, which provides free emotional support round the clock for anyone struggling to cope.
James Jopling, Samaritans Scotland executive director, said many people can struggle with feelings of loneliness or isolation over the holidays.
He said: “That’s why Samaritans volunteers are here for anyone who needs us during the festive period, day or night.
“Our phone line is free, you can call from a mobile even if you don’t have credit, and calls to us won’t show up on your phone bill.
“Whatever you’re going through, our confidential listening service means you don’t have to face it alone.”
Breathing Space can be contacted on 0800 83 85 87, 6pm to 2am Monday to Thursday, and 24 hours at the weekend.
Samaritans can be contacted 24 hours a day on 116 123, or by emailing email@example.com