DIGEST

Informer: Not feeling so festive? Remember you aren't alone

Feeling lonely, depressed or anxious around the holidays is more common than you think. Picture: Shutterstock
Feeling lonely, depressed or anxious around the holidays is more common than you think. Picture: Shutterstock

It might be the silly season - but don't feel silly if you aren't feeling as festive as everyone else.

Feeling lonely, depressed or anxious around the holidays is more common than you think.

In fact a recent survey conducted by the Red Cross found that 44 per cent of people aged 18-29 were experiencing loneliness in the lead up to Christmas.

Red Cross volunteering director Penny Harrison says the results aren't that surprising after a year of lockdowns and restrictions.

"Pick up the phone and reconnect with someone you haven't spoken to this year or check in on a neighbour who lives alone," she said.

Another recent study has found that men, in particular, who don't have access to social support experience worse depressive symptoms.

The Ten to Men study found that only 61 per cent of 14,000 respondents said they had someone to share their private worries or fears with.

Up in the sunshine state, the Queensland government has been urged to provide funding for community groups supporting lonely or isolated people.

A QLD parliamentary committee acknowledged the "stigma surrounding social isolation and loneliness may make it difficult for lonely or socially isolated community members to access necessary help".

Over the past couple of years Lifeline experienced a record number of crisis calls, mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And this year the organisation is anticipating its busiest Christmas ever with Lifeline's current fundraising campaign aiming to 'Shine a light on Mental Health'.

But it's not just mental health giving people a blue Christmas.

Homelessness is a genuine concern for families across the country - especially given surging rental prices.

AAP reported today that more than 278,000 Australians sought help for homelessness in the past year - and that number could have been much higher without JobKeeper/Seeker.

Most of the people seeking support were women and three in 10 were aged under 18.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data also revealed that Tasmanian women were significantly over-represented in the number of people being assisted by specialist homelessness services.

There is a lot of societal pressure to be merry and bright around Christmas time - and if you aren't feeling it this year, please know that you aren't alone and support is out there.

If you have any concerns about yourself or a loved one, contact the NSW Mental Health Line - 1800 011 511, Lifeline - 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue - 1300 22 4636.

THE NEWS YOU NEED TO KNOW: