mental health holidays

The Holiday Season Can Be Challenging for Some – Dr Elaine Sung

Instead of the usual blog post this month, I felt it necessary to highlight that the Holiday Season isn’t a period of joy, giving and love for everyone. This time of year can be difficult for many people.

Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues increasingly rear their ugly heads as we move into December and January. I have several patients who dread Christmas and New Year’s. Some are reminded of the loss of a loved one; some become anxious about money, where others feel lonely and marginalised.

Unfortunately, the latter is the case for many LGBTI individuals who aren’t accepted by their families.

Patients also talk about the Holiday Season being a time they reflect on the past. Thoughts of unattained life goals and persistent problems typically creep in. I hear genuinely heartbreaking stories of infertility, perpetual singledom, failing at uni and hassles with work.

We Can All Help

It’s lovely if you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by family and friends during this period. Combined with a well-earned break, and perhaps a holiday, life can be pretty sweet.

But please take some time to consider those less fortunate than you. Drop a few extra coins in a homeless person’s cup, check in on a neighbour or ask a mate if they’re OK.

Though seemingly small gestures, the difference you make can be life changing – even life saving.

We’re mostly open over the next two weeks, so give us a call if you’re feeling the pressure of the season and need to talk.

If you’re experiencing a personal crisis and need immediate help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. In emergencies, call 000 without hesitation.

Dr Elaine Sung is the owner and principal GP at Doctors of South Melbourne. She has a special interest in mental health.