Stay kind to yourself and others this holiday season


Minister for Mental Health Emma Davidson is encouraging Canberrans to take some time for their mental health and wellbeing during the holiday season after a challenging year.

“This festive season is a time for Canberrans to reach out, talk about how they are feeling and connect with family and friends. However, it is not always a jolly and celebratory time. For some it’s a difficult time and can exacerbate feelings of loneliness, stress, anxiety and depression” Minister Davidson said.

“I encourage everyone to keep a kind heart, open ear and helping hand over this period to those who reach out. Some people have had to change their plans due to COVID-19 and it’s important we keep our caring attitudes from lockdown throughout this period.

“After the challenging two years we have faced, people may not have taken time yet to reflect on how they are feeling, talk to someone and seek help. Please remember there is always someone to listen and help if you are feeling distressed.”

The Belconnen Safe Haven, 56 Lathlain Street, is open throughout the holiday season, Tuesday – Saturday from 4:30pm – 9:00pm. It is a free service for anyone in the community to chat with a peer mentor about how they, or someone they love, are feeling and be supported to other services if needed.

Safe Haven service leader Ben Martin said that throughout the festive season, the Safe Haven will continue to provide a warm and friendly space for those in need.

“Christmas and New Year can be a difficult time for many. There may be those who do not have anyone to spend the holidays with, those have recently lost a loved one or miss someone close to them, those who are struggling financially, those who are struggling with their mental health and many other reasons. It is with this in mind that the Safe Haven is remaining open over the Christmas and New Year period including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and on New Years Eve."

Canberrans can also use ACT Health’s Ways to Wellbeing tips on how to support family, friends and neighbours and also how to look after yourself. These tips have been developed with community organisations Council on the Ageing, The Street Theatre, Feros Care, Volunteering ACT, Palliative Care ACT and Havelock House:

The following crisis and information services can be contacted 24/7 during the holidays:

  • Lifeline – 13 11 14. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, text Lifeline on 0477 131 144
  • MindMap youth portal – 1800 862 111
  • ACT Mental Health Crisis Assessment Treatment Team – 1800 629 354 or 02 6205 1065
  • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467

The following services can provide in-person support throughout the festive season:

  • Belconnen Safe Haven, 56 Lathlain Street, Tuesday – Saturday from 4:30pm – 9:00pm
  • ACT Health’s Walk-in Centres, for when other frontline services such as GPs might not be available