It’s good to talk - that’s the message from mental health charity Mind as we head into what can be the most stressful time of the year.
And for those who are already suffering from depression - the festive season can be especially challenging.
Sometimes we may not immediately realise ourselves that we are struggling - those around us may be the first to notice changes.Spokesman
Issues such as finances, juggling work and extra demands on our personal lives and the pressures of creating the ‘perfect Christmas’ can play heavy on our minds.
Today, the charity is calling on people to reach out to family and friends this Christmas, in particular those who may appear to be struggling.
A spokesman for Mind said: “We can all have days where our mood takes a drop and we struggle more than usual to get through the day.
“However, depression is much more severe than temporarily feeling a bit low. Depression is a clinical condition that goes on for at least two weeks, causes distress and makes everyday things more difficult to cope with.
“Sometimes we may not immediately realise ourselves that we are struggling - those around us may be the first to notice changes.
“If you know someone who is struggling try to reach out to them this Christmas time.”
Research by Mind suggests news reports, soap and drama storylines about mental health are having an impact on helping people to seek support and improve people’s understanding around mental health - helping to reduce the stigma around it and showing it can happen to anyone with singer Robbie Williams talking about their experiences with depression.
For some there may be one or more obvious things that have triggered depression. For other people there may be no obvious cause.
New mums are also be being urged to reach out and not be afraid to ask for help if they are feeling overwhelmed by the recent birth of a baby - especially around this time of year.
Latest figures reveal at least 15% of women who have a baby will develop postnatal depression within the first year.
The spokesman added: “New mothers often feel emotional 3-4 days after giving birth - this is called the baby blues and can involve mood swings and feeling low, irritable and anxious.
“However, these feelings usually only last up to 10 days after the birth. If they go on for longer, post-natal depression may be the cause.
“We all need support at times and talking to someone is the first step to feeling better. The sooner you can get help the sooner you can get back to how you want to feel.
“Even if you have felt unwell for some time it is never too late to seek help and you will feel better with the right support.”
Our series of articles in the run-up to Christmas aims to encourage people to reach out to others and for those struggling - help and support is available.
They also encourage people to carry out one act of kindness a day - which can also help to boost their own mental health.
Today, people are being asked to ask a friend or group of friends to go on a nice long walk this weekend - you could just make someone’s day.
Hartlepool and East Durham Mind work in partnership with local Minds in the region.
For more information and access to self-help guides visit wellbeinginfo.org/self-help/health/recognising-depression/
Where to get help.
Hartlepool and East Durham Mind:
Phone: 01429 269303
Call: 116 123