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Looking after ourselves

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Christmas & MH Services

by Isabel Dayman, abc news online
Sun Dec 18, 2016

Australians struggling with depression or loneliness this Christmas are being reminded that support services are always available, even over the festive season holidays.

Dr Stephen Carbone from Beyond Blue said Christmas was a "consistently busy" time of year for the mental health organisation, which runs a 24/7 support hotline among other services.

"It's an ongoing theme, I think," Dr Carbone said.

"Obviously Christmas is generally a festive time but it's not always an easy period for everyone.

"There are peaks in terms of the contact that people have with our services [but] there are particular times, this being one of them, where we get some more callers coming through.

"For some people in our community, particularly those who might be a bit more isolated and lonely, where there might be a family conflict or people on low incomes ... it can be a difficult time for those groups and it can impact on their mental health and wellbeing."

'Always someone out there'
Dr Carbone said Beyond Blue's staffing arrangements for Christmas reflected the higher need for assistance based on figures from previous years.

"We can predict through our records when our peak times are and we can put on more mental health professionals, so we'll respond to the demand as it arises," he said.

"There are still services that are available over the Christmas and New Year period [and] our own Beyond Blue support service is there every day, 24/7.

"But there are also mental health services that are provided through the South Australian Government and a mental health triage service which people can call.

"Any of the public hospitals would be a point of access for people [while] some of the other frontline services like GPs ... might not be available.

"In other words, there is always someone out there.

"People don't have to deal with those difficulties that they might be experiencing completely alone," Dr Carbone said.

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