Pressure. It’s all around us. Never more so, it could be argued, than now, at Christmas time . . .
Mistletoe and Wine? For some, perhaps.
For others, it’s a period to dread.
Mental Illness doesn’t take a break for the festive season. If anything, it intensifies.
Depression. Expectation. Drugs. Debt. Drink. Bereavement. Loneliness. Painful anniversaries . . .
This isn’t a Christmas list that Santa Claus can deliver upon. Unlike all the festive fairy tales, this one is all too true.
In a survey, published just last week, Mind revealed that 36% of people who have mental health difficulties have self-harmed in order to cope with the pressures that Christmas can bring.
This includes young people in significant numbers. This does not make for good reading.
From those surveyed, 45% admitted to having considered suicide as December 25th approaches.
For mistletoe, read misery . . .
It is beyond all question that this is an issue that cannot be underestimated. It is time to do something about it.
The Mind statistics suggest 81% find Christmas stressful and that, for 41%, the pressure to spend big (and the subsequent debt that is encountered) is a pressure that is all too heavy for all concerned.
Last week, we read about a mother who had spent £1500 buying 300 presents for her family, the enormous pile beneath the tree one that must be seen to be believed.
Each to their own but in our opinion, such a commercially-driven culture fuels the pressures that are bearing down on the more-vulnerable in our midst.
Families. Empathy. Understanding. This is what Christmas calls for . . .
The big day fast approaching, this is something for us all to think about.
To quote Mind’s Stephen Buckley, ‘Coping with a mental health problem can be difficult at any time of year, but at Christmas there are special demands that can leave you feeling worse than usual. Our research shows that people are struggling due to the stress, financial impact and pressure to join in when everyone around you seems to be having fun. Christmas can make existing problems seem even bigger, especially if you’re unhappy and everyone else is having fun. We’re urging people to look out for one another and [to] show that you care. By listening, sympathetically, by being affectionate, appreciative or simply by spending time with loved ones.’
Here at CPUK, we couldn’t agree more . . .
It might be Christmas, but long-standing problems persist and issues do intensify.
Please take a moment to think about this. Is there anyone in your midst who might not agree that it’s the most wonderful time of the year? Is there anything you can do to help? To ease the burden?
If nothing else, don’t add to the stress and the strain and the pressure.
It might just be that this is the best Christmas gift of all.