Suffolk mental health groups urge: ‘Seek help if you struggle at Christmas’

Blair and Tracie Williams from the Suffolk Lives Matter video

Blair and Tracie Williams from the Suffolk Lives Matter video

Health organisations in Suffolk are uniting to urge those struggling to cope this festive season to seek help and not to struggle alone.

About 60 people take their own lives in Suffolk every year, with Christmas and New Year an especially challenging time for many, especially those the bereaved.

Suffolk Lives Matter aims to get people to talk openly, while raising awareness of the support available to help people manage their mental health.

Blair Williams, 61, from Halesworth has struggled with his mental health for years. Thanks to support from wife Tracie and, more recently, the Halesworth Men’s Sheds project, he has a more positive outlook on life.

He said: “Christmas can be a very lonely time for people who live with mental health issues, and I for one find it a painful time of year. The important thing is to talk to close loved ones, support workers or others about how you feel. ”

Cllr Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health and chairman of the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “We are fortunate to have some outstanding support services here in Suffolk who are ready to listen and offer advice as necessary.

This time of year can be particularly poignant for those who have been directly affected by suicide. Suzy Clifford leads the Suffolk branch of the Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SoBs) group. She said: “SoBS can help by teaching survivors coping strategies specific to this grief and how to live with suicide as part of their long term legacy. Perhaps more importantly we are user led, speak the same language and offer realistic hope for the future.”

A summary list of organisations who offer help in the county is available from www.healthysuffolk.org.uk/suffolklivesmatter or from the Suffolk InfoLink directory.