Plan ahead for a positive Christmas

For some, Christmas is a time of fun and laughter, of festive celebrations, family gatherings and positive hopes for the New Year.

For others, it can be a time of stress and anxiety, sadness, isolation and a time of self-evaluation.

Like Minds Like Mine, a public health programme aimed at reducing discrimination and stigma associated with mental illness, has suggestions for keeping mentally well this Christmas.

"Christmas is about love, not money," says Like Minds Like Mine service coordinator Aaron Woolley.

"Plan ahead. Agree with family members, or friends, how many presents you are able to buy.

"Also agree where you will hold Christmas and what food you will have," he says.

Involve friends and relatives in your Christmas celebrations who would otherwise be alone, or who have experienced a recent bereavement or loss.

"Don't be alone this Christmas. Find out in advance about community activities, telephone friends and family and plan some treats.

"Make the most of our beautiful beaches, parks, gardens and try to get out into the natural environment," he says.

For more information, phone Aaron on 021 902 434. Depression Supportline 0800 111-757, Lifeline 0800 543-354, Youthline 0800 376-633, CAT team (Crisis Assessment Team) 0800 505-050.

- Hamilton News

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