Christmas and New Year can be one of the busiest – and most fun – times of year.
But as enjoyable as the mince pies and tinsel are, it is common for people to feel particularly lonely, stressed or worried as life gets more hectic, nights get darker, and the air gets colder.
That’s why Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW) is trying to make it easier for people to find out where they can get help and support.
Through its Winter Wellness campaign, NTW hopes to spread the word about where people can find help and support if they feel they need it.
By providing city centre bars with beer mats and posters, the trust is aiming to reach revellers in Newcastle and Sunderland who might not otherwise be aware of where they can go for help.
Venues featuring the campaign include Harry’s, the O2 Academy, Digital, Centurion and The Junction in Newcastle, among others. In Sunderland, they include Life of Riley, the Lambton worm, The William Jameson and Bar Justice.
NTW’s patient information centre manager Karen O’Rourke said: “As the world gears up for Christmas and gets busy with family, shopping and parties, it can be easy to start neglecting your own personal wellbeing. As well as that, darker nights, colder weather and either your own or everyone else’s hectic schedule can often make people feel increasingly isolated or lonely.
“We want people to know that they don’t have to put up with feelings like that. We, and many others, are here to help – be it with tips on looking after yourself, a supportive ear or help in finding more specialist support.
“By having these publicity materials in city centre bars, we hope to make it easier for people who wouldn’t otherwise to seek out help and support should they need it.”
Karen added: “Loneliness can have a significant impact on your health. It can increase the risks of anxiety and depression. Research has shown that loneliness can be as harmful to your body as smoking 15 cigarettes a day – it shouldn’t be ignored and should be taken seriously.”
Posters and leaflets will also be available from GPs’ surgeries, job centres, voluntary groups and NTW sites, featuring tips on how to stay well and listing NTW services that may be able to help people facing loneliness.
NTW has a range of self help guides that are available online in a range of formats, including British Sign Language. They are available at ntw.nhs.uk/pic.
There will also be daily tips put out on NTW’s Twitter account throughout December.
If you would like any of the Winter Wellness resources for your organisation, then please contact Karen O’Rourke in the Patient Information Centre. For more information see ntw.nhs.uk/winter