Winter can evoke contrasting emotions: some look forward to festive joy, while others face mental health challenges. Here’s how to navigate the season healthily.
Serious or life-threatening emergencies
If you or someone you know is in mental health crisis and requires serious or life threatening emergency mental or physical care, dial 999 immediately.
If you, a family member or friend are in crisis and need help, please dial 111 and select the option for mental health crisis. You will be connected to our contact centre where trained staff will provide appropriate support and advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you are under the age of 18 or are the family member of someone under the age of 18 who is in crisis, please call North East London NHS Foundation Trust’s Southend, Essex and Thurrock Children’s and Adolescent Mental Health Services (SET CAMHS).
0800 953 0222
If you need urgent help or out of hours help please call Mental Health Direct 0800 995 1000.
Engage in Social Activities
Loneliness isn’t just a mental health issue; it affects your physical well-being too. Discover groups or volunteer opportunities to meet new people in your local area.Essex Southend Thurrock
Just 30 minutes daily or 150 minutes weekly of any physical activity can uplift your mood and overall health.
Prioritise quality sleep
Poor sleep can lead to various health issues. Learn the significance of proper sleep and tips to achieve it.
In the below video, James, a mental health professional, shares top tips for better sleep.
Christmas time and bereavement
While Christmas can be a time of celebration for many, we recognise that Christmas and the lead up to it can be especially difficult for those who have lost loved ones. Whether it is your first Christmas without your loved one, or several years have passed, grief can hit you hard and feel completely overwhelming. If you feel you might need some specialist bereavement support or you just want some coping tips or to find out what support is available, visit AtaLoss.com – the UK’s signposting and information website for bereaved people.At A Loss – the UK’s signposting and information service for bereaved people (external link)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. Sometimes referred to as ‘winter depression’ because the symptoms are usually more apparent and severe during winter.
Things you can try yourself:
- Try to get as much natural sunlight as possible, even a brief lunchtime walk can be beneficial.
- Purchase a SAD lamp, a light box that will provide daytime light during dark winter days.
- Make your work and home environments as light and airy as possible
- Sit near windows when you are indoors.
- Take plenty of regular exercise particularly in outdoors and daylight.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet.
- Whenever possible, avoid stressful situations and take steps to manage stress.
Support if you are struggling with gambling
At this time of year, people can feel extra pressure on their finances, and some people may be struggling with gambling. It can be difficult to admit that you might have a gambling problem, but there is specialist NHS support available to help you.
The East of England Gambling Service is free and is run by the NHS. Whether you are affected by your own gambling or someone else’s, you are welcome to contact the service. They offer support to individuals and families experiencing the negative impact of gambling.East of England Gambling Service (external link)
Seeking Professional Help
Mental health problems can emerge anytime and affect various aspects of life. The sooner you seek help, the quicker your recovery.
In the below video Katie, a mental health professional, helps you to know when you should seek mental health support
Local Mental Health support
Mental health professionals are now working in local GP practices to provide support to patients. Find out more.
Talking therapies, or psychological therapies, are effective and confidential treatments delivered by fully trained and accredited NHS practitioners. They can help with common mental health problems like stress, anxiety and depression.Find out more about Talking Therapies and how to access them