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12/08/2021 | Stressed or Depressed During the Holidays? You are Not Alone and Help is Just a Phone Call Away

For Immediate Release: December 8, 2021                                                 Contact: Eric Wandersleben c: 614-359-6754

Stressed or Depressed During the Holidays? You are Not Alone and Help is Just a Phone Call Away

COLUMBUS, Ohio, December 8, 2021 – It’s been said that the holidays are the “most wonderful time of the year.” For many, it’s a time to gather to enjoy festive family feasts, exchange gifts, and share in holiday cheer with friends. But, for some, the season can also be a stressful time filled with anxiety and depression.

CarelineThe Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) wants Ohioans to know it’s OK to not be OK, and that help is just a phone call away. The Ohio CareLine (1.800.720.9616) provides free, confidential emotional support 24/7. The line is staffed by trained counselors who provide compassionate assistance, including resources and information, brief interventions, and when necessary, referrals to local mental health and substance use disorder treatment providers.

“It’s completely normal to feel anxious and stressed during the holidays. Regardless of the reason, we want Ohioans to know during this holiday season that they are not alone, and help is available,” said OhioMHAS Director Lori Criss. “No one should suffer in silence. CareLine staff stand ready to provide a helpful, friendly voice and connections to care when it’s needed most.”

Since its launch in April 2020, the CareLine has fielded more than 8,500 calls from every region in the state. Calls peaked last year during the winter months. Callers state a variety of reasons for reaching out – information seeking (35 percent), stress and anxiety (22 percent), and concerns about mental health (21 percent) top the list. Callers also cite loneliness and isolation, alcohol and other drug use, concerns about COVID-19 and physical health, financial concerns/employment, familial concerns, domestic violence/child abuse and suicidal ideation.

According to the American Psychological Association, 44 percent of women and 33 percent of men surveyed are feeling stress during the holidays. Common triggers for these feelings include family gatherings that devolve into arguments, overspending that adds to financial problems, and pressure to create festive homes and gatherings. A study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness showed that 64 percent of people with mental illness report holidays make their conditions worse. The COVID-19 pandemic has made maintaining mental health even more challenging for many.

In addition to keeping the CareLine number handy, OhioMHAS also offers the following tips to help manage stress during the holidays:

  • Maintain a positive mindset and leave the baggage behind. Focus on good memories.
  • Detour around triggers and avoid hot button conversations (politics, religion, etc.)
  • Slow down on emotional responses and take time to focus on the bigger picture.
  • Exercise, go for a walk, unplug from televisions, smartphones, and social media.
  • Maintain healthy sleeping, eating and drinking habits.
  • Connect with family, friends, neighbors. Take the Strive for Five challenge.

Visit mha.ohio.gov or recoveryohio.gov for more information and resources