PEOPLE struggling with their mental health are being urged not to wait until the festive period ends to seek support.

Mental wellbeing minister Kevin Stewart has said mental health support remains available over the Christmas period.

When GPs are closed, he urged people to contact NHS 24’s mental health hub.

And a range of charities such as Breathing Space and Samaritans offer confidential support to those in crisis.

For those anxious or concerned about the cost-of-living crisis, Citizens Advice Scotland’s money talk team will be able to help, while the charity Money Advice Scotland and the service Mental Health and Money Advice will provide practical advice.

Stewart said: “For some, the festive period can be a tough time. People may be on their own with no family, they may have health issues, concerns about Covid or flu or other worries affecting them.

“This time of year can also be the trigger for existing family tensions or anniversaries of a life-changing event.

“The rising cost of living is on everyone’s mind and many people are having to make difficult decisions about how they will pay for things.

“All this can have an impact on our mental health and wellbeing and lead to increased stress and anxiety.

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“With the challenging time we’ve been through over the last few years, many are finding things particularly tough this year and it’s normal to feel stressed or down.”

He added: “There is help and support available throughout – please don’t wait until after the festive season to speak to somebody.”

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