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Christmas can 'heighten feelings of loneliness and despair'

If you need to talk, there are people who want to listen.

ALTHOUGH CHRISTMAS IS usually a time of celebration, for some the festive season is not always a merry one.

Bereavements, loneliness, poverty or depression can cloud the occasion, making it the busiest period for many support groups and organisations.

“Christmas is a time of happiness, reunions, family time, and these celebrations can heighten feelings of loneliness and despair,” says the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy’s manager Shane Kelly.

“Don’t bottle up these feelings, but go and talk to someone – a friend, a family member, your GP or a trained counsellor or psychotherapist. Talking and sharing these feelings is the first step to better mental health.”

If you are in a tough situation and need to talk to someone about it, there are places and people to turn to.

The Samaritans can be reached 24 hours a day on 1850 60 90 90 or by email at

Depression support group Aware‘s helpline number is 1890 303 302.

Suicide prevention and bereavement charity Console are at 1800 201 890. It also runs a special farm and rural stress helpline at 1800 742 645.

Another suicide prevention line is run by Pieta House on 01 601 0000.

Are you a teenager? TeenLine Ireland are here to help 1800 833 634. Childline is also available for all those under the age of 18 at 1800 66 66 66 or by texting Talk to 50101.

Parents feeling the pressure over the next few days can call Parentline on 1890 927 277.

If you need to talk about sexual health or pregnancy, the Cura can be reached on 1850 622 626 or Life on 1850 281 281.

The Rape Crisis Network provides services to those affected by rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment or childhood sexual abuse. Its trained staff are at 1800 778 888.

More: Mountain rescue teams urge walkers to be safe this Christmas

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