Welsh Mental Health and Wellbeing Minister Eluned Morgan has urged people to reach out for help if they need it over the Christmas period and to know that support is just a phone call away.
On Thursday, Ms Morgan met with Sarah Stone, Samaritans Executive Director for Wales, as well as volunteers from the helpline to discuss the impact of Coronavirus on the service, the concerns many people are feeling and the most appropriate way support can be provided to those in need.
The Coronavirus pandemic and the lockdowns it has led to has had a negative impact on many people’s mental health.
This Christmas will be different, with people being advised to avoid social contact with others wherever possible in order to protect themselves and others from the virus. The meeting between Ms Morgan and Samaritans on Thursday came ahead of a third national lockdown in Wales, which is set to begin on 28 December.
More than a quarter of the people who have contacted the Samaritans in Wales in the last 3 months have raised concerns about their wellbeing over the Christmas period.
Following the meeting, Eluned Morgan said;
“It was deeply humbling talking to Samaritans Wales about how they have adapted to cope with the pandemic and managed to reach more than a million people in the space of just six months.
“Christmas can be a difficult period for many people and going through it during a pandemic can make it even harder, so we want people to know support and a listening ear is always there for those who need it.”
Samaritans Executive Director for Wales Sarah Stone said:
“It has been an unprecedented year with the pandemic affecting so many people’s health and wellbeing. We need to be there now more than ever for those in distress.
“We know that people struggle more at Christmas, as it’s a time when loneliness can really hit home. Regardless of what happens with Covid restrictions, we want people to know that confidential support is available 24/7, and that we are there for everyone.”
Samaritans can be contacted for free at any time from any phone throughout the UK on 116 123 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.