Homelessness is of course only one area, albeit a very important one. Some will be waking up experiencing grief, others financial concerns, whilst some may be battling a hidden illness which affects approximately one quarter of the UK. To put that into perspective that’s approximately 16 million people at any one time. Mental health problems don’t take a break at Christmas and if anything, witnessing other people experiencing the festivities whilst you are experiencing inner turmoil and despair can exacerbate the symptoms further. Christmas for some, is just another day to get through and holds no significance at all. Some people don’t have families to see or gifts to open, things we can very much take for granted.
Whilst it’s a myth that suicide rates spike in the festive season (it’s actually higher in the spring), we still need to be mindful that people may not share the same experience as most of us. It’s not inconceivable that a family member or close friend could be experiencing an emotionally challenging time and being vigilant and showing that support and compassion could make a real difference. Helping others doesn’t detract from your Christmas, but it can add to theirs. Whilst showing somebody you care shouldn’t be solely restricted to Christmas, it is certainly a time when there is the capacity for problems to be amplified. Be vigilant, patient and try to understand we all have very different battles, some visible and others harder to detect. Remember the smallest gesture sometimes makes the biggest difference.