Help on hand to deal with seasonal stress

Councillor Paul Valentine is pictured at the SAMH centre with Jackie Duncan (left) and Claire Hancox.'Staff photo
Councillor Paul Valentine is pictured at the SAMH centre with Jackie Duncan (left) and Claire Hancox.'Staff photo

THE FESTIVE period can be a stressful time but can be doubly so for those living with a mental health issue, dealing with bereavement or just going through a down period.

Strain arising from complicated family arrangements or living on a tight budget, or just being alone over Christmas and new year can also take their toll and sometimes it may feel that there is nowhere to turn.

The Angus Mental Health Association (AMHA) and Scottish Association of Mental Health’s (SAMH) outreach centre in Bridge Street will be open during the holidays to act as a first link between those in need of help and those who can provide it.

Jackie Duncan, Tayside support services manager for SAMH, said that anyone can feel the stress of the season and the centre operates an open door policy for anyone who will find it beneficial.

She said: “At this time of year people feel a lot of stress, maybe feeling the pinch of the recession or there is a lot of strain on their family life.

“People can sometimes just stay in and isolate themselves, but there’s no reason people should feel alone or feel they have to face things on their own when they can come in and get the support they need.

“We’re a sign-posting resource centre and whether people are looking for financial advice, counselling or anything to do with mental health we can point them to the right place.”

The centre, at 1-3 Bridge Street, will be open over the holiday between 12 noon and 4pm on Wednesday, December 28, Friday, December 30, and January 4 to 6 and is one of a number of services which can be drawn on over the festive period and employability service manager Claire Hancox said their aim is as much prevention as dealing with established problems

She said: “A lot of people don’t realise that anxiety from debt problems or relationship worries can be pressure on mental well-being and few admit to stress or anxiety, but we’re open for everyone to come in and talk about it.”

Local councillor Paul Valentine has also taken an interest in the Bridge Street centre since it opened in October, and he also encouraged those under pressure to use.

He said: “People might think it’s just aimed at existing mental health issues but it’s not and is about prevention. All kinds of factors can play their part and the centre can help.”

Anyone in need of support over the holiday period can also contact Samaritans on 08457 909090, Breathing Space on 0800 883 8587 SAMH’s helpline on 0800 917 3466.