Not everyone feels festive at this time of year

By Dr Wirin Bhatiani

TV adverts at this time of year are full of happy families, neighbours looking out for each other and community cheer.

But amid the Christmas and New Year celebrations, it’s easy to forget that not everyone feels festive.

Poor mental health can be exacerbated with the pressures and expectations of the festive period. So while it can be an exciting and happy time, it can also be challenging for those dealing with grief, sadness, isolation and financial pressure.

That’s why it’s important to remember that support is available if you need to talk.

Whatever you are facing, the Samaritans are there to listen – they won't judge or tell you what to do. Their free and confidential phone line is open 24/7. Ring 116 123 or visit

The Samaritans are not just for people who are suicidal; they are for anyone who feels that they can't cope and are in need of an anonymous helping hand.

For help with anxiety and depression, contact Single Point of Access on 01204 483101 from 9am till 9pm. They will make a referral on to the best service to help you.

Bolton BAND provides one-to-one, drop-in and group support. Ring 01204 380643 or email

And if you’re struggling after suffering the bereavement of a child, partner, family member or friend, there are lots of organisations offering support. Find a list at

Looking after our mental health – and that of others – is just as important as looking after our physical health. The two go hand in hand.

It can be hard to start a conversation about mental health but we all need to look after ourselves, our families, neighbours and friends - in real life and not just in TV adverts.

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