Check in on friends and relatives who could be lonely over Christmas, says NHS

The Christmas period can be extremely isolating for many people, according to the NHS. Credit: PA Images

The NHS is urging people to check in on their neighbours, friends and relatives who may be isolated over the festive period.

While Christmas is a time of joy and celebration for many, for some it can be filled with loneliness.

Dr Lindsey Dickinson, associate medical director for NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, said: "Reaching out with a text to a friend or family member to check in on them, have a chat, arrange a brew or see if they need anything, could make a huge difference to their life.

"Social isolation has a huge impact on mental health and not everyone feels comfortable asking people for help.

"For people living alone, seeing so many people coming together to celebrate can be upsetting and difficult."

It's also reminding people of the services available if they are struggling.

The wellbeing helpline can be accessed on 0800 915 4640, or you can text ‘hello’ to 07860 022 846. If you're in crisis, you should call 0800 953 0110, or 999 if you've harmed yourself.

Dr Dickinson added: "The fear of reaching out about mental health is completely understandable, but the vast majority of people feel so much better when they tell someone how they are feeling and ask for help.

"There really is no shame in this."

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