Chief Psychiatrist, Dr Murray Wright said while Christmas and New Year is seen
as a time to spend with loved ones, for some people it’s a time of year that
can trigger depression and increase the risk of self-harm.
“This time of year, it’s important
to remember to look out for those
who are vulnerable and may be feeling isolated and lonely,” he said.
“The risk of
self-harm and suicide increases in the days following Christmas and also on New
Year’s Day. For people with a depressive illness or experiencing severe stress
the festive season can be an emotionally difficult time.
“This is often
exacerbated for vulnerable people who see others catching up with their
families for Christmas and New Year celebrations when they don’t have families
or other sources of support.”
Dr Wright said people might consider simply asking others about their
holiday period plans, and inviting them along to celebrations as a welcome
the New Year period can be a healing time for many people coping with stress in
their lives, and many people may benefit from spending more time with family
and friends and taking time out for their favourite pastimes and recreational
“However, the risk of self-harm can increase when people became
intoxicated with alcohol and other drugs.
“Alcohol, particularly when under a lot of stress or coping with a
depressive illness, can increase the risk of self-harm as it can lead to
impulsive and irrational behaviour.
“We often don’t
know what personal challenges people are facing, so it’s important – especially
at times of greater risk such as the Christmas/New Year season – to look out
for those around us and be inclusive to help them through,” Dr Wright said.
needing assistance can contact:
- Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 - 24 hours /
7 days a week for mental health assistance
- Lifeline on 13 11 14 24 hours /7 days a week for
- beyondblue on 1300 224 636 24 hours /7 days a
week for and information
Dr Wright emphasised that in an emergency, people in need of immediate
assistance, should contact emergency services on triple zero (000).