The holidays can be an emotional and psychological minefield for many, especially for those who have suffered from loss, grief, and isolation. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated mental health struggles. Now, Lifeline Australia is anticipating its busiest Christmas ever with the number of calls to their crisis supporters already 40 per cent higher than pre-pandemic times.
Lifeline CEO Colin Seery says the high volume of people reaching out for help this time of year can reflect increased personal stressors in the community, such as heightened financial pressures, increased family conflict, loneliness and isolation or the grief of having lost a loved one.
“The holidays are not always a happy, jolly time – in fact, for many, this time of year can be challenging and heighten feelings of isolation or loneliness. Over the past two years, many of us have been coping, rather than thriving, and that is okay,” says Seery.
To ensure Lifeline has enough crisis counsellors available around the clock to support people in crisis, the organisation considers historical call number patterns as well as average call lengths and recently observed trends. Contact volumes traditionally peak at approximately 5-6 per cent above average in the days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and on the day immediately after the New Year’s Day Public Holiday.
To help navigate the challenges and emotional triggers during this time, Lifeline is sharing a new, free Wellness Guide which outlines a series of simple and useful tips to help relieve the stress, disappointment, and loneliness that the holiday season can bring.
These range from including periods of rest, relaxation and reflection as you prepare for the start of a new year, listening to what your body is telling you and setting realistic expectations for yourself and others.