The winter and festive period can lead to increasing numbers of people feeling down and in need for someone to talk to. AASMA DAY finds out about a dedicated helpline that is offering a listening ear to people throughout the New Year period.
When everyone around you is full of the joys of the impending New Year, if you are feeling depressed or experiencing worries, it can make your problems seem even worse.
And the bleak winter weather and dark nights also leads to spiralling numbers of people affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
However, a dedicated helpline in Lancashire is offering a listening ear to people who are feeling down and need to talk over the winter or festive period.
Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust’s mental health helpline is open 365 days a year, with an out-of-hours advice service for people worried about their mental health or that of someone they care about.
The helpline offers confidential support to people who feel distressed and want someone to talk to, or even just listen to them. It is common for people to feel low at this time of year, with around two million people in the UK being affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder and other mental health problems.
Lorraine Khalaf, helpline manager at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, says: “We understand that the festive and winter season can be especially hard for people, and want everyone to know that we’re here if they need us.
“We know that sometimes life can be difficult and there are a number of things that can make people feel low. Talking to someone can help.”
The mental health helpline was launched in August 1996, following a review of mental health services. It is a listening and information service for those concerned about their own mental health, or that of someone they know.
The helpline is free, and does not appear on the caller’s bill.
The helpline will be open every day from 7pm to 11pm throughout the New Year period. Normal opening hours will then resume, which are 7pm to 11pm Monday to Friday, and noon to midnight on Saturdays and Sundays.
Call the freephone helpline on 0500 639000. To find out more about the helpline, visit www.lancs-mentalhealthhelpline.nhs.uk