It will be a Lonely Christmas for Some, says the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP)

Christmas can be a particularly lonely time of year for many people, with feelings of loneliness being amplified by the surrounding festivities. COVID-19 restrictions this year may see even more people spending Christmas alone, separated from family.

 

Research carried out by Behaviour and Attitudes (B & A) for the IACP this * found that two-thirds of Irish adults have felt stressed and anxious. Almost half have felt lonely/isolated**.

 

Ray Henry, Chair of IACP says, “A little kindness can go a long way. If you know someone who may be alone, extend an invitation to meet them at a safe social distance or if that’s not possible pick up the phone.”

 

In the lead up to Christmas, it is normal for stress and anxiety levels to climb and feelings of loneliness/isolation can be exacerbated. Many IACP members are already seeing clients present with increased feelings of loneliness due to COVID-19. Just over 3 in 10 (31%) IACP members say clients are raising issues relating specifically to COVID-19 with the top issue being anxiety (50%), followed by loneliness 33%, relationships 24% and work 21%***.

 

“There can also be underlying issues with depression that come to the fore during the holidays”

The IACP encourages anyone who is struggling with their mental health or feeling lonely at this time of year to reach out to a trusted friend or a counsellor/psychotherapist. “There are a number of options available and easily accessible, many of our members are working online so you don’t need to travel,” Ray Henry concludes.

 

The IACP offers the following tips for the holiday season:

●   Reach out to friends and family;

●   Reach out to a Counsellor/Psychotherapist;

●   Be mindful of alcohol’s potentially harmful effect on your mood, and how your mood can affect your behaviour.

●   Exercise; a walk and some fresh air

To learn more about IACP’s Public Mental Health amidst COVID-19 Survey please see:  http://ow.ly/h5mo50Cs5l2

For a list of accredited counsellors and psychotherapists in your area, visit www.iacp.ie.

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