The Lifeline Crisis Support line experiences some of its highest number of calls during the Christmas holiday period as more people experience loneliness and isolation.
Christmas can be a joyous time spent with family and friends, but it can also be a difficult and isolating time for some which can lead to a strain on their mental health.
Lifeline Mid Coast suicide prevention and postvention manager Kelly Saidey said the Christmas period can be extremely difficult for some people.
"Over the public holidays is when we see more people seeking assistance. There is a lot of loneliness and isolation," she said.
"People with mental health are often isolated from their families and so seeing the happy families around this time of year can be difficult."
Ms Saidey said Lifeline Mid Coast has already seen an increase in the number of calls for support over the past two weeks.
"We will find by the end of this week that there will be more of an increase in calls," she said.
"There are still a lot of people reaching out and in distress."
There is also the added pressure of people not being able to afford their usual Christmas activities and travel because of the rise in cost of living.
"Whether people are in a mental health ward or isolated from their families, a lot of people can't afford this year to visit their families over the holidays," Ms Saidey said.
Volunteers at Lifeline Mid Coast will work around the clock to provide support to those who need help over the Christmas holidays.
"Our training team is doing a big drive with the volunteers and the phones will be manned 24/7 and our rosters will go for 24 hours a day," Ms Saidey said.
"We're also putting together hampers to look after our volunteers while they come in over the holidays."
There will be 20 volunteers manning the phones and working in four hour shifts.
Peer workers with lifeline Mid Coast will only be taking the public holidays off so they can continue to provide support to people face-to-face.
"We're also implementing safety plans for people who access our services. This includes giving them packs informing them of what is open on what days and where to go if they need help," Ms Saidey said.
"It's a hard time of year and we want to reassure people they're not the only ones finding it hard and they're not alone.
"We've got a really good group of volunteers and they're all here with a lot of empathy."
If you or someone you know needs crisis support, reach out to Lifeline 24/7 by calling 13 11 14, texting 0477 131 114, or visiting www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp
The not-for-profit organisation, Social Futures, is delivering a suicide prevention service on the Mid North Coast to the Bellingen and Kempsey Shires, Nambucca Valley, Port Macquarie and surrounding areas.
Care Connect is an aftercare support and treatment service for people who have attempted suicide or are at risk of suicide or self-harm.
"We know that providing an extended period of support for people at risk plays an important role in suicide prevention. The aftercare and assistance we give is all encompassing - we support the individual, their family and/or their caregivers," Social Futures senior manager Suicide Prevention and Community Care, Melissa Wiseman said.
"We 'walk alongside' people at risk. We know how important quality care and support for people at risk of suicide is."
The Care Connect Service is funded by Healthy North Coast, delivering the Primary Health Network (PHN) program, an Australian Government initiative.
To contact Care Connect phone 1800 718 573 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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