MENTAL health charities are preparing for their busiest time of the year.
Although holidays are a positive time for most people, mental health problems can become apparent at this time of year, and support is available to those who need it.
Scotland’s Breathing Space helpline receives close to 4,000 calls over the festive period, and the Samaritans expect to answer around 15,000 calls a day from people in the UK and Republic of Ireland over the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Minister for Public Health, Michael Matheson, said:"Mental health issues can arise at any time and for anyone. It is estimated that one third of adults in Scotland will experience mental health issues each year and it can affect everyone from the loudest to the quietest people we know.
"You should never be afraid to speak up and admit to feeling stressed or depressed even during celebrations. Help always available to anyone who needs it 24 hours of the day 365 days of the year."
There are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce stress and anxiety over the festive. period:
Avoid excess alcohol and too much food
Exercise can reduce stress and lift a low mood
Take time for yourself and relax on your own terms
Make sure you get enough sleep
Talk to others and take the time to listen.
Tony McLaren, National Co-ordinator, Breathing Space said: "Although for many the festive period is joyful and celebratory, for others it can be lonely and difficult. Our trained advisors here at Breathing Space can offer callers empathy, warmth and understanding.
"We are open 6pm-2am in the evenings and 24 hours at the weekend; times over the festive period when other services may be unavailable. No call is a waste of time - we’re here to listen."
Andrew Sim, Samaritans Executive Director for Scotland, said:
"We know that this time of year can be a difficult time and we want to let people know that Samaritans are here if things are getting to them. When many other services shut down for the holidays, our volunteers continue to be available, round the clock, every single day of the year, including Christmas Day, for anyone struggling to cope. Please call us on 08457 90 90 90 or email firstname.lastname@example.org."
The Breathing Space helpline is 0800 83 85 87 .