Is it all getting too much?

Support is only a phone call away
Support is only a phone call away

Are the pressures of Christmas and the festive period getting to you?

Do you need someone to talk to?

Scotland’s mental health charities are preparing for their busiest time of the year.

Although holidays are a positive time for most people, mental health problems can become apparent at this time of year, and support is available to those who need it.

Minister for Public Health, Michael Matheson, said: “You should never be afraid to speak up and admit to feeling stressed or depressed even during celebrations. Help always available to anyone who needs it 24 hours of the day 365 days of the year.”

There are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce stress and anxiety over the festive period: avoid excess alcohol and too much food; exercise can reduce stress and lift a low mood; take time for yourself and relax on your own terms; make sure you get enough sleep; and talk to others and take the time to listen.

Tony McLaren, National Co-ordinator, Breathing Space, said: “Although for many the festive period is joyful and celebratory, for others it can be lonely and difficult. Our trained advisors here at Breathing Space can offer callers empathy, warmth and understanding.

“We are open 6pm to 2am in the evenings and 24 hours at the weekend; times over the festive period when other services may be unavailable. No call is a waste of time - we’re here to listen.”

Andrew Sim, Samaritans’ Executive Director for Scotland, added: “We know that this time of year can be a difficult time and we want to let people know that Samaritans are here if things are getting to them. When many other services shut down for the holidays, our volunteers continue to be available, round the clock, every single day of the year, including Christmas Day, for anyone struggling to cope.”

To contact Breathing Space call 0800 83 85 87 or go to

To contact the Samaritans phone 08457 90 90 90 or email