Finding it difficult to cope this Christmas? There are people who can help

HEALTH officials are throwing their weight behind a campaign focusing on the difficulties faced by many people at Christmas.

NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield and NHS North Durham Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are supporting the message highlighted by The North East and North Cumbria Suicide Prevention Network.

The campaign encourages anyone who may be finding it difficult to cope over the festive season to ask for help.

Chief Officer of NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield and NHS North Durham CCGs Dr Stewart Findlay said: “Christmas is traditionally seen as a time of joy and happiness but for many people the festive season can also be one of loneliness, isolation and distress.

“Suicide prevention is a huge priority for us and we are fully behind the network’s message, which we hope will help anyone feeling particularly vulnerable over the Christmas period know that there are people out there to help them and offer support.”

Anyone struggling to cope over the festive season can call NHS111 for urgent medical help or advice for non-threatening life situations. People at immediate risk of suicide, serious self-harm or injury should ring 999.

If you need advice or support, are thinking about self-harming or worried about someone else, you can contact the Samaritans on: 116 123 or at jo@samaritans.org.

For an anonymous and confidential helpline and webchat, open 5pm to midnight everyday, call 0800 58 58 58 or visit www.thecalmzone.net.

Shout, offers a 24/7 crisis support service by texting: 85258.

Childline can be contacted on 0800 1111 or at www.childline.org.uk.  Additional help for young people, under 35, is available at Papyrus Hopeline UK tel: 0800 068 4141 text: 0786 00399 67 e-mail: pat@papyrus-uk.org.

You can also ring your GP and ask for an emergency appointment.

“Just one suicide is one too many”, added Dr Findlay.

“It is so important that anyone in distress knows that they can reach out and that there will be someone at the end of a phone line, a text, on-line or in a GP surgery that is there to help.”

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