WDHB advises people to look after their mental health over Christmas

Media Release
8 December 2016

While Christmas can be a little stressful for some, it can be harder for those with mental ill-health says WDHB associate director of nursing (Mental Health Service) Jeff Hammond who this week, issued five tips to help people maintain good mental health over Christmas.

Give: Giving is more than just giving presents. It’s about cultivating a spirit of generosity and taking part in social and community life. The festive period provides us with an ideal opportunity to talk to, visit or engage with the people around us. Face-to-face communication improves our mental and physical wellbeing.

Stick to your budget: Planning ahead and sticking to your budget will ease the financial stress at Christmas, and alleviate financial issues in the New Year.

Be Active: Keeping up your regular exercise routine. Exercise helps boost our serotonin levels and reduce stress.

Don’t overdo it: Feeling under pressure can produce symptoms of anxiety, anger and difficulty sleeping which, if prolonged, could have a long-term detrimental impact on your mental health and wellbeing.

Stay in touch: If you think you’re going to be alone at Christmas, make it a priority to contact friends and family by phone, email or social media. Keep the lines of communication open - it's good for you.

“If you don’t wish to be alone on Christmas Day, the City Mission holds an inexpensive Christmas lunch at the Whanganui War Memorial Hall,” Mr Hammond says. “This is a fun and inclusive environment for everyone. Please also remember that the following support organisations are available over the holiday period.

Where to get help

  • Lifeline (open 24/7) - 0800 543 354 
  • Depression Helpline (open 24/7) - 0800 111 757 
  • Healthline (open 24/7) - 0800 611 116
  • Samaritans (open 24/7) - 0800 726 666 
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline (open 24/7) - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
  • Youthline (open 24/7) - 0800 376 633. You can also text 234 for free between 8am and midnight, or email talk@youthline.co.nz.
  • 0800 WHATSUP children’s helpline - 0800 9428 787, Open between 1pm and 10pm on weekdays and from 3pm to 10pm on weekends. Online chat is available from 7pm to 10pm every day at www.whatsup.co.nz.
  • Kidsline (open 24/7) - 0800 543 754. This service is for children aged 5 to 18. Those who ring between 4pm and 9pm on weekdays will speak to a Kidsline buddy, who are specially trained teenage telephone counsellors.
  • Your local Rural Support Trust - 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)
  • Alcohol Drug Helpline (open 24/7) - 0800 787 797. You can also text 8691 for free.
  • For more information, contact the Mental Health Foundation's free Resource and Information Service on 09 623 4812.


For further media comment please contact Whanganui DHB communications manager Sue Campion on 021 246 8126 or 06 348 3170.