Young people are being urged to look after themselves this Christmas and not let the pressures of the festive season grind them down.
The call from mental health charity Mind comes as the number of young people hospitalised through self-harming injuries has risen, according to recent figures issued by the NSPCC.
A spokesman for Mind said: “Self harm is essentially a coping strategy some people use to help them through challenging times.
“ Stopping the self harm without addressing these challenges may be counterproductive so it’s important to identify alternative coping strategies instead.
“People who self harm often experience stigma with others incorrectly assuming it to be attention seeking behaviour. To best support someone who is self harming it’s important to listen to how they’re feeling and not judge.”
The charity has also issued signs to look out for when someone could be experiencing anxiety.
These include: feeling worried all the time; tiredness; irritability; inability to sleep; difficulty concentrating; racing heartbeat; sweating; muscle tension and pains; shaking; breathing heavily; feeling dizzy or faint; changes in their appetite.
Those suffering from an anxiety, stress or panic are being encouraged to take part in breathing techniques to help alleviate the feelings of worry.
Mind advise people to make themselves comfortable and to let their breath flow, breathing through the nose and out through the mouth. Each breath, steadily count to five in and out, keep doing this for three to five minutes.
Our series of articles in the run-up to Christmas - supported by Hartlepool and East Durham Mind - aims to encourage people to reach out to others and for those struggling - that 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 take a leaf out of a young person’s book and practice the act of compassion towards others.
For advice and information on the support available for young people visit www.mind.org.uk