Christmas can be a stressful time of year for many people and Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board are calling on people across North Wales to look after their mental health over the Christmas period.

The health board is urging people to take the time to look after themselves and their loved ones over the busy festive period, and reminding people of the support available 24/7 from the C.A.L.L Mental Health Helpline for Wales.

Teresa Owen, Director of Public Health at BCUHB, says there are a number of small things people can do to look after themselves and their loved ones.

She said: “It can be very easy in the busy run up to Christmas to forget to look after ourselves. But giving some thought to self-care is vital in order to look after our mental health.

“It can be hard to admit that at such a supposedly happy time of year you’re not feeling great, but sharing how you are feeling with family, friends or somebody you trust is the first step towards making things better.

“Cold weather and shorter days can make it difficult to get outside and enjoy some fresh air, but light, regular exercise such as a short walk with friends can boost your self-esteem and help you feel better. Checking in on somebody who may be feeling lonely and isolated at this time of year will not only help them feel less alone, but also give your own wellbeing a boost too.”

The health board are also reminding people to know their limits, as Christmas celebrations gather pace.

“Christmas can be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate in the company of friends and family, which is important for our mental health, but it’s important to remember to eat well and drink in moderation.

“A poor diet can have an adverse effect on your mood, energy levels and ability to think clearly. Knowing your limits when drinking alcohol is also equally important, as too much alcohol can change your brain’s ability to stay balanced and run smoothly. Having a little less really can make you feel a lot better!”

BCUHB are also encouraging people who are struggling to cope with the pressures associated with Christmas to contact the C.A.L.L Mental Health Helpline for Wales, which is available 24/7 over the festive period and throughout the year.

The service provides confidential emotional support and signposting to local mental health services.

C.A.L.L Helpline Manager Luke Ogden says a combination of money worries, isolation, increased alcohol intake and winter weather can have an adverse effect on people’s mental health over the Christmas period.

He said: “Christmas can be a particularly difficult time of year for people who are struggling with mental ill health.

“We want anyone who is struggling to know that there will always be somebody available to listen and provide emotional support whenever they need it. For many people, simply talking about their problems with somebody who is ready to listen can make all the difference.

“People who don’t feel comfortable discussing their problems over the phone can contact us by text or via our Facebookand Twitter and we can provide support in that way, whenever it is needed.”

The free and confidential C.A.L.L Mental Health Helpline is available 24/7 to provide emotional support and signposting to local services. Call 0800 132 737, text ‘Help’ to 81066, or visit www.callhelpline.org.uk