Ballymena Today share this blog post a few weeks ago – Are you dreading Christmas this year? about how Christmas can be a difficult time many of us. Click here to read the full blog post and thanks to all who shared this information. We talked about how Christmas can take its toll on our bank account, our relationships and our health. This story shared by Samaritans has again reminded us of how Christmas is not always full of festive cheer.

You are not alone this Christmas

Photo Credit: Lee Haywood; Creative Commons

You are not alone this Christmas

Samaritans has released new figures showing the extent of loneliness and isolation people feel over the festive period, with nearly a quarter (23.6%) believing problems feel worse at Christmas and 1 in 6 (17.3%) saying it’s the loneliest time of year.*

The survey, of all ages, also reveals that 1 in 15 (6.8%) have often spent Christmas alone, and 1 in 25 (3.8%) of those questioned have said they are with friends and family, but really spent it alone.

Samaritans responded to nearly 200,000* calls for help over the festive period last year, and are seeing an increasing demand for their services, responding to more than 5.3 million calls for help overall in 2014 (the latest full year for which figures are available).

Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland says, “For many the holiday period can be a thoroughly enjoyable time but, sadly, as our research shows, for a startling amount of people this is not always the case. This time of year can bring up painful memories, or worsen difficult feelings often related to family or relationship issues, financial or health worries, to name just a few. The pressure to be having a good time or comparing your life with someone else’s can be too much. Even with friends and family around you, that sense of being alone with difficult thoughts or feelings, can make it seem as if you have no one to turn to.”

“The important thing to remember is that no one needs to feel alone this Christmas. Samaritans volunteers are there to listen round the clock, every day of the year. We don’t judge and we don’t share what we’re told, we’re simply there to listen, provide emotional support and help people find a way through whatever’s getting to them.” (Source)

This Christmas you can call Samartians on 116 123 (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill), or email,to talk about how you are feeling.

You can also get in touch with a volunteer at Turning Point NI who are based in Mill Street. Click here to find out more and please remember that you are not alone this Christmas and talk to someone about how you are feeling.