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If you need to talk to somebody today, there are people who WANT to listen

Christmas can be the worst time of the year for some – but there is help out there.

CHRISTMAS IS BILLED by most of the western world as a joyous time of celebration and family.

But, as we all know, the festive season is not always a merry one.

Loneliness, economic struggles, depression and bereavements can dampen the day for many families. The occasion is the busiest period for many support groups and organisations.

The idea of reunions and other people’s happiness can often heighten feelings of despair in those who are struggling.

The Irish Hospice Foundation has advised people to keep things simple today if they have been bereaved.

Special occasions can be very difficult for those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, but there are things that the bereaved can do to make things a little easier, according to clinical psychologist Dr Susan Delaney.

She notes that more than half the adult population have suffered a bereavement over the past two years, meaning 1.5 million men and women will be missing someone dear to them today.

“There is something about Christmas that intensifies all our emotions. The hype begins in October and builds up in the weeks before Christmas, often making make it a very difficult time for those of us who are bereaved,” continued Delaney.

If you are in a tough situation – for whatever reason – 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 116 123 or email

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.

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