The research also found that almost one in five people in the South-East feel lonelier at Christmas than any other time of the year (18%), with a similar number feeling ‘alone in a crowd’ even if they have people around them (16%).
Part of the problem appears to be overly high expectations, with a quarter of people in the South-East feeling the pressure to have the ‘perfect Christmas’ (25%).
Although Christmas is challenging for many people, the festive period is significantly more difficult for people currently experiencing mental health problems.
The number of people across the nation with mental health problems who feel unable to cope at Christmas is almost triple that of the wider population (31% vs 11%) and those feeling the pressure of the ‘perfect Christmas’ significantly higher than the population average (44% vs 28%).
While one in six people feel lonelier at Christmas than any other time of the year (17%), this is more than double for those with a mental health problem (39%).
The research also found that people with mental health problems are twice as likely as the national average to compare their Christmas to other people’s on social media, (19% vs 10%).
The charity says that the impact of the pressures caused by Christmas is shocking, with one in 20 people considering taking their own life directly because of the festive period (5%), rising to more than one in five of those with mental health problems (22%).
Although it is clear that many need extra support at Christmas, not everyone feels they have someone to confide in for emotional support.
Half of people with a mental health problem did not feel they had someone to confide in over the festive period if they needed to (58%). In addition to this, over one in ten people with a mental health problem don’t know where to get professional support over the festive period if they needed it (13%).
Mind is urging people to donate to their Christmas Appeal, so they can be there for everyone who needs them this Christmas. Visit mind.org.uk/ourchristmas for more information.
Stephen Buckley, Head of Information for Mind, said: “Although for many people in the South-East, Christmas is something to look forward to, it can also bring with it additional pressures such as financial strains, feeling that everything has to be perfect and loneliness.
“This can be particularly difficult for the one in four people who experience a mental health problem, especially if they feel unable to ask for help. Mind can’t make Christmas perfect, but we can ensure that everyone has the support they need, whether through our Infoline or online resources such as our guides for coping with stress and our Elefriends online peer support community. We can’t provide these without your support, so please donate to our Christmas Appeal at mind.org.uk/ourchristmas to help us be there for someone who needs us this Christmas.”
Visit mind.org.uk/ourchristmas to find out how Mind can support you this Christmas, including free information on coping with stress or mental health problems, the Mind infoline and how to join Mind’s online peer support community Elefriends (Elefriends.org.uk).