Send a Christmas card to remind loved ones they are not alone

Man sitting at the table and using smartphone at home

The Not Alone This Christmas campaign is encouraging Norfolk residents to reach out to those who might be struggling - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

This year has been hard for everybody, and as the festive season draws closer, we want to remind everyone that it’s okay not to be okay, but to remember that you are not alone in whatever you may be feeling.   
The Not Alone This Christmas campaign is encouraging Norfolk residents to let their friends and family know that they have support if they need it.
To help you reach out to those that you think might be struggling, you can send the Not Alone This Christmas card. The card has been inserted into today’s Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News, and contains advice and contact details for support services, as well as space for a personal message.
The card is also available electronically by clicking here, so you can email it directly, and even send it to more than one person. 

A Christmas card of two people sitting in the snow with the words: However you're feeling this Christmas, always know you...

The Not Alone This Christmas campaign has launched an electronic Christmas card to send to anyone you think might be struggling - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Christmas is a hard time of year for lots of people, here’s how you can be supportive of others:

Don't 

  • Don't make assumptions about why Christmas is difficult for them. 
  • Don't ask intrusive questions about their past or experiences. You might never know why they find it difficult – it's often a deeply personal reason. You can support them without knowing their reasons. 
  • Don't try to cheer them up. Whatever your intentions, these aren't usually helpful things to hear: 
    "You could enjoy yourself if you tried." 
    "Look on the bright side."
    "People have it worse." 
    "But everyone else is enjoying themselves." 
  • Don't take it personally if they don't join in. It may feel disappointing, but it doesn't mean they don't care about you.

Do 

  • Understand that Christmas means something different to other people.  
  • Let them know you know Christmas can be difficult, and you're there for them. 
  • Listen to what they say and be accepting of their feelings. 
  • Ask if there are things you can start, stop or continue doing. You could suggest they take time to think and come back to you. 
  • Ask them what they think might help.  
  • Remember they are not trying to spoil Christmas. No one chooses to find things hard. 
  • ​​​​​​​Look after yourself. Supporting someone else can be difficult. It's ok to talk to someone someone about how this is affecting you – your wellbeing matters too.

'You don't have to face things alone'
Some people think that therapy is an extreme option, and that unless things get really bad you should try to manage on your own. But this isn't true. It's ok to try therapy at any point in your life, whatever your background. 
Anthony is a self-aware, professional, intelligent man who didn’t think therapy was for him. He said: “I arrogantly believed that no one could tell me better than me, how to deal with things.” 
After experiencing mental health issues, including waves of uncontrollable emotion, hating his life, and seeing no future or hope that things could change, Anthony contacted the Wellbeing Service.  
He said: “The service gave me access to the Mind helpline, who got to know me and built up notes on me so that I could talk about how I was now, rather than going over the past. The aim was to move forward, it was a great help. They were also talking to me - not just listening, and that was so important in dealing with the loneliness linked to my condition.  
“I got to know many of them and, as a result, when I was at my lowest and contemplating suicide, saying no one would miss me, they said they would, and it meant something. They literally saved my life.” 
Anthony wants to encourage anyone thinking about contacting the Wellbeing Service to make the call.  
“I refused to believe for months that things would get better but with their patience, care and friendship I am out the other side and I am so pleased they were by my side holding my hand through the worst time of my life.  
“You don't have to face things alone. Don’t think it’s not for you and that it’s hopeless. It is possible for things to get better and you will feel supported and no longer alone with these lovely people. 
“I am back to full strength thanks to this service and I would recommend them to anyone.”  
There’s more to wellbeing than therapy. The team has employment advisors who have been working with Anthony to help him find voluntary work and prepare for returning to employment. 
You can refer yourself to the Wellbeing Service by visiting www.wellbeingnands.co.uk or calling 0300 123 1503.

Support services: 
If you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed or having suicidal thoughts, please contact: 

  • First Response - 0808 196 3494 
  • Samaritans – 116123 
  • Text SHOUT to 85258 
  • Wellbeing Service – www.wellbeingnands.co.uk / 0300 123 1503
     

Children and young people, please contact: 

To find out where to get free, quality impartial advice in a range of areas from welfare benefits, housing, debt, and domestic abuse visit the Norfolk Community Advice Network - https://norfolkcan.org.uk/ or call 01603 216481.

For Carers in need of support visit the Carers Matter Norfolk website - www.carersmatternorfolk.org.uk for a live chatline or call on 0800 0831148. 

For anyone in Norfolk suffering financial hardship over the winter months due to Covid-19, support is available with food, living expenses and household bills. Visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/NAS or call 0344 800 8020.

The Not Alone This Christmas campaign is brought to you by Norfolk County Council, NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, Norfolk and Waveney Mind, Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News.

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