Pieta House expects rise in calls over 'financial and social angst' of Christmas

Pieta House has warned that it anticipates a spike in calls and texts to its helpline service over the Christmas period.

Pieta House expects rise in calls over 'financial and social angst' of Christmas

Pieta House has warned that it anticipates a spike in calls and texts to its helpline service over the Christmas period.

The suicide prevention service has already seen an increase in calls of 45% this year in comparison to 2018, with the charity noting an average of 257 calls and 589 texts to its helpline each week. It expects a spike across the Christmas period due to festive pressures.

Elaine Austin, CEO of Pieta House, said there are a range of factors that add to the seasonal stresses for some people.

She described Christmas as "a lonely and isolating time of year" for some.

"The financial and social angst people experience to have the ‘perfect’ Christmas intensifies, which is sometimes due to social media and the online community. The intensity of the Christmas season can amplify feelings of hopelessness and despair."

Pieta House's 24/7 helplines will operate throughout Christmas. Ms Austin appealed for support in sustaining these services.

Some 80% of the charity's funding comes through public donations, which can be made via their website.

She also urged people to keep a closer eye on their friends and family and to be aware of changes in sleep patterns or activity, sudden isolation or a lack of interest in gatherings. She added that these are not definitive signs and "the only way to know for sure is to ask".

Since 2006, almost 50,000 people have been through the Pieta House doors in a state of crisis.

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