Looking after your mental health at Christmas and into the New Year

We know that for those struggling with their mental health, the busy Christmas and New Year period can be a difficult time.

That’s why this festive season we are sharing some of the things that can help and the places to go for advice and support.

Dedicated staff from some of the Trust’s mental health services have recorded a special 30 minute podcast in which they talk about some of the challenges people may face:

“Christmas and the holiday period can bring a unique set of challenges. Things can be out of the ordinary, which can be unsettling, and there’s a real pressure to feel like you’re having a good and happy time.

“You may find yourself spending a lot of time with people that you wouldn’t usually be around, which can be difficult if you’re used to your own space, or you may find yourself feeling lonely and unsure of where to turn for company.

“You may be feeling the loss of a loved one and finding it hard to cope with your emotions.

“There’s also the financial burden that may add to your worries, if you feel there’s an expectation that you need to buy certain gifts or feed your family in a certain way, and then there are the effects of alcohol to deal with.

“It’s completely normal to feel extra strain in these circumstances.”

Here are some of their top tips for how to cope:

Tip 1: Do what’s right for you, don’t do things just to try to please others.

Tip 2: Don’t put pressure on yourself and try not to worry too much if things don’t go to plan.

Tip 3: If you feel vulnerable, make a plan of how you’re going to keep yourself well. Write it down so you don’t forget.

Tip 4: Let’s care for each other. Put your arm around your family and friends and find time to lend them a listening ear.

With thanks to:

Josef Faulkner, Community Mental Health Service Manager
Nichola Sanderson, Deputy Director of Nursing
Tom Hitchen-Louden, Clinical Team Manager for the Assertive Outreach Team
Judith Barnes, Operations Manager for Crisis Resolution Intensive Support Service
Tricia Thorpe and Mat Dale, End Stigma

Where can you get help?

The Mindwell website is a single ‘go to’ place for information about mental health in Leeds funded locally by the NHS.

The website can also give you quick and easy access to:

Mindwell’s festive resource can help you find self-help strategies, support and services in Leeds and what to do in a mental health emergency #stayhealthythischristmas.

MindMate is a Leeds-based website for younger people, their families and the professionals who support them. It covers emotional wellbeing and mental health issues and offers information about where support is available. Visit www.mindmate.org.uk

Looking out for our neighbours

With the cold, rainy days and dark nights, it’s easy to become isolated or feel a bit lonely at this time of year. The ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign will return in December with helpful tips on how to look out for each other this winter!

By doing your bit to support people in your neighbourhood, you’ll help to rekindle neighbourly spirit, reduce social isolation and even prevent illnesses such as dementia, heart disease and depression. Champion togetherness and improve wellbeing by looking out for your neighbours.

Visit the Our Neighbours website to get your helpful neighbour pack.

Leeds Recovery College courses

We believe that good mental health is important to everyone and that we can all play a part in improving our own mental health and that of others.

Leeds Recovery College takes an educational approach to improving mental health and offers information based workshops and training courses that focus on living mentally and physically well.

In the run up to Christmas Leeds Recovery College are running the ‘Self-care for special events and celebrations’ workshop. The free session on Thursday 12 December at Lovell Park Hub from 10.30am to 12.30pm will cover the following:

  • Discuss what things contribute to negative feelings towards events and special times of the year
  • Explore what strategies we currently use which may help or may hinder us
  • Share ideas on the things that may help make these times easier to manage

To combat the New Year blues, there are different courses which might help. A four week course on ‘Exploring Anxiety’ starts on Monday 6 January at The Vale Circles and a six week course on ‘Building self-esteem’ starts on Friday 17 January at The Vale Circles.

To book your free place please call 0113 855 5127 or email Leedsrecoverycollege.lypft@nhs.net.

If you would like to learn more about your health and mental wellbeing, there may be a course for you. More information on all our free courses can be found on the Trust website, where you can download a prospectus and timetable.

Debbie, Leeds Recovery College student, said:

“I’ve learnt that’s it’s okay to do things in my own time. I’ll get where I want to go. I’ve learnt to do what works for me.’”

Community mental health drop-in sessions

If you need any support over the Christmas period, there are drop-in sessions across the city.

The sessions are run by a team from Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with Yorkshire-based mental health and wellbeing charity, Touchstone.

As well as providing a listening ear, expert staff at the drop-ins can offer advice and signpost to other relevant services. They can also provide practical support with things like forms and phone calls related to everything from housing to benefits.

The sessions are open to everyone, whether or not they’re already under the care of NHS services. The only people they can’t support are those currently in a mental health crisis, or those under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Times, dates and venues:

Dewsbury Road Community Hub, Beeston

First Tuesday of every month, 11am to 12.30pm

Armley One Stop, Town Street

Second Tuesday of every month, 1pm to 2.30pm

Reginald Centre, Chapeltown

Third Tuesday of every month, 1pm to 2.30pm

Seacroft Community Hub, Deacon House

Fourth Tuesday of every month, 11am to 12.30pm

Please note we will not be running a session on Tuesday 24 December.


Download a poster advertising the sessions.

For more information, please contact:

Community Mental Health Team

Aire Court

0113 855 0600