Scots concerned about mental health of others at Christmas

More than half of adults in Scotland are worried about the mental health of someone they know this festive season.

Scots concerned about mental health of others at Christmas Basak Gurbuz Derman via Getty Images
Mental health: Survey found Scots worry about others.

More than half of adults in Scotland are worried about the mental health of someone they know this Christmas, according to new research.

The survey, published by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland, found (54%) are concerned about the mental health of someone such as partners, children, friends, relatives, neighbours or others.

More than a quarter of respondents (28%) reported they are personally feeling anxious or stressed about the festive season.

More than a third (37%) said they are feeling happy, hopeful or excited.

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Lee Knifton, director at Mental Health Foundation Scotland, urged people to talk about their feelings and show kindness to help with mental health this festive season.

He said: “2020 will always be remembered as the year of the coronavirus pandemic but it can also be remembered as a time when people and communities came together to show kindness and support to one another as we faced challenges and hardships.

“Our thoughts continue to be with others as more than half of Scottish adults have expressed concern about the mental health of someone in their lives.

“It’s important that we reach out to offer and ask for support if we suspect someone one is struggling or we ourselves are having a tough time.”

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He added: “Loneliness and isolation can amplify our worries or anxieties, and chewing things over in our heads often makes things worse.

“Talking about your thoughts and feelings can help you work out what is really bothering you and what can be done about it.”

The survey, carried out by YouGov in late November, found 31% of people are concerned for the mental health of friends while 37% are worried about relatives.

Just over a fifth (21%) are concerned for partners/spouses and 31% for children, with some choosing people in more than one category.

Mr Knifton said: “Christmastime can often evoke mixed feelings among people and, given the challenges and disruptions of this year, it is unsurprising that some people may be feeling anxious or stressed.

“At times like this, it is worth remembering the power of kindness.

“Research shows that an act of kindness can help someone feel appreciated and has the power to reduce stress, improve mood, self-esteem and happiness.

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“It’s a gift that has the potential to protect our collective mental health.”
Suggestions for acts of kindness include contacting others by phoning or sending them a letter, giving thanks for kindness, being kind to yourself, celebrating traditions and giving your time to someone or a cause you care about.