28 December 2020

Canberrans encouraged to check on each other this holiday season

| Karyn Starmer
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Bike riding

The holidays may be time to look after each other. Photo: File.

For some people, the festive season and holidays can trigger or exacerbate feelings of loneliness, stress, anxiety and depression. With the holiday season now in full swing, ACT Minister for Mental Health Emma Davidson is encouraging Canberrans to look after themselves and each other after a long and difficult year.

“Not everyone feels the same way during the festive season, and on top of everything our community has been through in 2020, some people may be struggling with being away from loved ones,” Ms Davidson said.

“If anyone is experiencing stress, anxiety or depression, it is important to remember there is always someone you can talk to and help is available.”

Emma Davidson

ACT Minister for Mental Health Emma Davidson. Photo: Region Media.

Local community groups, who received funding through the ACT Government’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Innovation Grants, have partnered with ACT Health to share practical tips to staying well and helping others during the holiday period.

For the past several years ACT Health has published Ways to Wellbeing tips but this is the first year the Directorate has partnered with community groups to share their tips, highlighting the important work that many organisations are doing in our local community.

The Way to Wellbeing tips have been posted on ACT Health’s social media channels over the past few weeks, including Facebook and Twitter, and will continue to the New Year. The tips focus on practical ways to help if people are feeling low, including building a sense of connection and showing some self-care.

“The tips have been contributed by a range of groups such as the Council on the Ageing (COTA), reaching out to older family members and neighbours and by Palliative Care ACT on reflecting on memories we’ve made with those who may not be with us this year.”

READ ALSO 2020 Year in Review: Community

The Street Theatre was one of twenty recipients of the 2020 Mental Health and Wellbeing Innovation Grants. The grant funded their ‘Re-Storying Project’ a creative practice resource to rebuild, rejuvenate and reimagine artists’ futures.

Street Theatre executive producer Caroline Stacey encouraged Canberrans to reach out and support each other as the year draws to a close.

“The challenges of 2020 have shown more than ever how important it is to connect to the things that matter most to us,” Ms Stacey said.

“Take time to remind yourself what you value – in yourself, in those you care for, in your community, in your country. Do what energises you and connects with those values.”

For more information, visit ACT Health’s Ways to Wellbeing.

The following crisis and information services can be contacted 24/7 during the holidays:

  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800
  • ACT Mental Health Crisis Assessment Treatment Team – 1800 629 354
  • Healthdirect Australia – 1800 022 222
  • ACT Health’s Walk-in Centres, for when other frontline services such as GPs might not be available.

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