Lifeline Central Coast is preparing to help hundreds of people who, rather than being relieved and excited about the arrival of the holiday season, may be feeling anxious, down, or alone.
Will Nesbitt, Lifeline Direct Counselling Services Manager, said that for many, Christmas and New Years can be reminders of those who have passed, breakdowns in relationships or financial stressors.
“It can be a very difficult time that sees the Lifeline Crisis Line increase with callers and a real need for our counselling service,” he said.
“We all know how the first Christmas without a brother, sister, mother, father or child is incredibly sad.
“We feel the absence of loved ones because it is a time when families have routines where we get together and there is a role for everyone.
“For people with family members who are ill in hospital or in a nursing home, this Christmas will be like no other.
“The freedom we had prior to COVID-19 where we could visit our loved ones whenever we wish has changed and many people will be unable to visit their family in hospital or in nursing homes due to regulated restrictions.
“This brings an enormous level of sadness and distress.
“This year, financial pressures will also be significant for many people.
“The impact of COVID19 means that there are people in our communities that are out of work or working fewer hours than they would like.
“Some might not be able to celebrate the way they would normally, or they may not have the income to holiday this year or provide for their children the way they would like to.
“For some people, an impending period of loneliness is a trigger for anxiety and depression.
“Shops and community centres are closed, there may not be many friends or loved ones nearby and the routine of their everyday is disturbed.
“Holidays can mean regular conversation is halted for 10 days for some and this can bring real worry and sadness.
“When we combine these factors with the bushfires this time last year and the long term drought, there is a cumulative pressure that for many people will mean they need some support and someone to talk to,” Nesbitt said.
“If people sense they are getting anxious, having difficulty sleeping, feeling sad or depressed, its important they have a plan in place.
“This could mean talking to a friend, booking an appointment with one of our local counsellors for the first week in January on 1300 152 854 or calling the Lifeline Crisis line on 13 11 14.
“It’s totally free and you don’t need a referral,” Nesbitt said.
Press release, Dec 17