While many of us may be bracing ourselves for hot weather or Great Aunt Jessica’s sharp cactus tongue, some people face a festive season that is far scarier.

Unfortunately, Christmas and New Year is a hard time for many people. It’s a time where the grief and loss of a family member can be the hardest to take. It also comes with added financial pressures and can be a time that makes it hard to make ends meet. It’s also a time where trauma and memories of family situations haunt us.

katie-chaseAnd it can be a time women, children and men face an escalation in stress and family violence. The pressure to be happy and festive stands as a reminder of painful memories. And the general party atmosphere of the festive season can make it excruciating for people who are dealing with addiction.

In Australia, Christmas and New Year can mean:

  • An increase in calls to crisis and suicide lines
  • More emergency service personnel attending domestic disputes
  • Higher rates of suicide and self harm
  • Greater likelihood of homelessness
  • More violence related to alcohol and drug usage
  • An increase in accidental death and serious injury related to drug and alcohol usage
  • The risk of relapse associated with self exclusion and addiction

Finding a safe place this festive season

Whether you are surrounded by partner and family or you are a solo facing Christmas alone, the festive season is a stressful time. Many Australians find Christmas brings up a lot of emotions. Remembering family members that may no longer be with us, feeling strain in our personal relationships and coping with personal issues can be tough. Christmas isn’t always a time for joy and it’s OK to feel stressed, overwhelmed or concerned.

Help is available.

If you are finding Christmas difficult for any reason, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Their crisis supporters can help with all kinds of issues, including feelings of loss, despair and suicide. You can also make use of web chat via the Lifeline website if you are unable to talk on the phone.

If you are coping with issues related to sexual, domestic or family violence, please remember you are not alone. Everyone has the right to be safe. You can find someone to talk to at 1800 RESPECT or via the website.

If you are facing reminders of childhood trauma including physical or sexual abuse, the Blue Knot Foundation is there to help. You can call Blue Knot on 1300 657 380 or access the Blue Knot website.

Just remember, you don’t have to be alone.