Financial pressures, social media comparisons and the expectation to appear happy can make Christmas tough for some teens and young adults.
A survey carried out by YoungMinds earlier this month revealed that almost a quarter of respondents (24%) feel that Christmas has a negative impact on their mood and mental health.
60% of respondents also shared that worries about money puts undue pressure upon them in December, along with the expectation to be ‘happy’, which was an issue for half of the young people who took part in the survey.
The research, conducted by Censuswide on behalf of YoungMinds, gathered the thoughts of over 1,000 young adults aged between 16-25 from across the UK, and while it highighted that Christmas could be a positive time for some, it also indicated that there are many factors that can make Christmas a troubling time too.
If you need urgent support with your mental health over the festive period, text YM to 85258 for free, 24/7 support. https://t.co/zM2YcVebkP— YoungMinds (@YoungMindsUK) December 16, 2019
In addition to money and mood, concerns around food, alcohol and missing loved ones who have died or are far away, were highlighted - issues that Director of Campaigns at YoungMinds, Tom Madders was keen to address;
“Christmas can remind us of people we have lost or are far away from. It can be a time when we feel forced to be with people who we might not want to be with. The pressure to be happy and to measure up to the positive portrayals of Christmas on social media can add to the stress, especially if you’re going through a hard time or there are lots of tensions at home.
“It can also be a time when all the talk about food and weight creates real challenges, and it can bring social anxieties or money worries into sharp focus.
It’s important to remember that not everyone has a positive time at Christmas, and to keep an eye out for your friends and family at this time of year
“It’s important to remember that not everyone has a positive time at Christmas, and to keep an eye out for your friends and family at this time of year. If you are struggling to get into the Christmas spirit, remember that you are not alone and that help is out there if you need it.”
Following the results of the survey, YoungMinds, the UK’s leading charity fighting for young people’s mental health, have produced a Coping with Christmas guide, specifically for those who find the time challenging.
How to look after your mental health and wellbeing this Christmas:
- Prioritise your own mental health, take time out and do what you need to do.
- Consider stepping away from social media if it is becoming overwhelming and do something you really enjoy instead.
- Engage with your support network. Turn to people you trust friends, family, your community.
- If you have a challenging relationship with food, consider talking to your family or friends about anything you’re worried about in advance. Forward planning can help.
- If you are missing someone who has died, be kind to yourself and understand that grief can surface anytime and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Consider talking to someone who knew the person you are missing, or if that is difficult, you can use the text and call services listed below.
Help at Christmas - you are not alone
If you’re a young person in crisis, you can use Young Minds Crisis Messenger service by texting YM to 85258.
Text SHOUT on 85828 to text chat with a trained volunteer
Contact Beat (Eating Disorders Charity) on 0808 801 0711 between 4pm-8pm everyday between 24 December - 1 January.
Call Cruse, Bereavement Care on 0808 808 1677. They are avalable Monday-Friday 9.30-5pm (excluding bank holidays), and until 8pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.