Help now at hand for people who are alone and needy
HELP is at hand for people who find themselves alone, lonely and depressed this Christmas.
While Christmas and New Year can be a time of joy and celebration it can also be be a time of stress, sadness and loneliness for many people, especially those who are elderly, living alone or bereaved.
But a number of charities are available over the holiday to lend a hand.
ALONE, the charity which supports elderly people, is calling on members of the public to visit their older neighbours who may be spending Christmas by themselves.
"Time costs nothing," said ALONE CEO Sean Moynihan.
"At this time of year, we must remind the public about the detrimental effects isolation can have on some older people."
The Samaritans also has a crew of volunteers on hand throughout the Christmas period who will man the charity's 24-hour helpline.
Christmas can be a very stressful time for people who are feeling isolated or depressed but it's vital that they don't bottle up their feelings, said Samaritans Ireland director Suzanne Costello.
"We encourage anyone feeling stress or anxiety or loneliness that it's important to talk to a friend or a family member or contact the Samaritans," she said. The lo-call helpline will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Children who are experiencing difficulties at home or need to speak to someone are also encouraged to contact Child Line.
The charity will have volunteers on the phone over the holiday season, as well as a daily text and online service from 2pm to 10pm every day.
The Irish Hospice Foundation has also prepared a free leaflet for those who have recently lost a loved one. It is available on its website www.hospice-foundation.ie.
And women experiencing domestic abuse or who may have been attacked or sexually assaulted during the festivities are encouraged to get in contact with the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.