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Sefton men told to look out for their mates

Helpline records big jump in Christmas crisis calls

Published on December 19th 2013.

Sefton men told to look out for their mates

MEN from Bootle up to Southport are being urged to “look out for their mates and themselves” over Christmas after calls to a helpline shot up last year.

National charity CALM, which is highly active in Merseyside, has increased its work in Sefton over the past 16 months because of a rise in suicide rates among men over 35 years of age.

It revealed a 20 percent increase in calls from men in Sefton to its helpline between November and December last year.

This year it has also produced a list of coping tips for anyone overwhelmed by the festive season.

Man Down 1CALM’s Man Down campaign, which was launched in August last year, sets out to assure men in the area that it is OK for them to open up if they feel under stress or unhappy. Since its launch, the campaign has resulted in a 467 percent increase in calls to the CALM helpline from men in the Sefton area.

Simon Howes, campaign co-ordinator for CALM, said: “In the first month of the campaign we had more than 300 men contact our free and confidential helpline which shows us that there is a real need for support.

Since then, we’ve had thousands of calls from men dealing with a range of issues such as anger management, the breakdown of a relationship, caring for a sick loved one or the after-affects of redundancy."

He added: “We know from our work last year that Christmas is a pressure point for men. It doesn’t help either that often the media portrays us blokes as being not much use this time of year. 

Men also don’t tend to have many support networks in their lives which can make Christmas and New Year even harder to deal with. We want to get across that being silent isn’t being strong and there is help out there if men need it.”

CALM offers free and confidential advice to anyone. It has a phone line seven days a week between 5pm and midnight, as well as a website full of advice.

CALM website Helpline: 0800 58 58 58.  

It's only a day: Tips for coping with Chrimbo 

(Click here to add text)

1. Don’t spend more than you can afford
Buying presents is one of the most stressful aspects of Christmas so draw up a battle plan before you hit the shops to avoid the Christmas Eve dash. With a bit of foresight and creativity, you could be onto a winner!  

Also, while it is great to give presents that you have put thought and time into, don’t cripple yourself financially in the process. Set yourself a budget beforehand and stick to it relentlessly - that way, whether you buy online or brave the high street, you won’t spend more than you can afford. 

2. Everything in moderation
This tip is an obvious one but important nonetheless! Whether it be a couple of beers at the pub or your turkey dinner - remember everything in moderation. One tip is to alternate your drinks with non-alcoholic ones - a simple and easy way to reduce that dreaded hangover the next day! 

3. Try to find time to exercise 
Although it is tempting to veg out on the sofa during the Christmas break, why not mix things up and get a bit of exercise?! There are clear links between having positive well-being and exercise - whether physically through the release of endorphins, or mentally through the feeling of achievement earned through getting active. Make time to get some fresh air once a day, even if it's just for 10 to 15 minutes. Walk the dog, head to a nearby park and back again, or go out for a jog - whatever works for you!

4. Remember - It’s only one day
If it is all getting too much, try to take deep breaths and keep in mind that it Christmas is  just one day. Remember that it won’t be long until the relatives have gone home, the Christmas decorations have come down and Christmas is all but a distant memory. Get your thoughts out of your head on to paper and write down what your goals are for 2014.

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