Although the Christmas holidays are often a happy and joyful time, it can be a distressing period for many people.
South West Hospital and Health Service Regional Adversity Coordinator Gavin Johannesen says the expense, pressures and expectations of the festive season could make Christmas an extremely stressful time.
“This time of year, also can stir up many emotions in people and it is important for family and friends to be on the lookout for each other. If someone has experienced relationship issues or financial pressures, this tends to be the time of year when emotions can boil over.”
Experience has shown health service providers that this is a time of need for many.
“Something as simple as a phone call to a relative or friend to let them know they have support also could mean a world of difference to that person.”
The South West HHS will have mental health clinicians available over the festive period to deal with any concerns and contact can be made through your local health facility.
Professional mental health support also is available 24/7 by phoning 1300 MH CALL (1300 64 2255).
Mr Johannesen says this free line provides 24-hour specialist mental health support to consumers, relatives, friends, carers and professionals to help access specialist mental health care advice, referral and support.
“By contacting the 24-hour mental health call line, you will be put in contact immediately with an appropriate mental health service for advice and support.’’
Mr Johannesen says callers from anywhere in the South West would be directed to their nearest local mental health service during business hours and to the nearest 24-hour mental health service in a larger centre like Toowoomba or Brisbane after hours.
“In most cases, phone calls to the 1300 MH CALL will be answered by health professionals and mental health clinicians who are local to the South West and who are on duty over the festive period.”
However, Mr Johannesen stressed the 1300 MH CALL number was not a replacement for emergency services or support services for current clients.
“Mental health consumers and the wider community requiring emergency assistance should continue to use the 000 number.’’