Financial issues a major concern for many over the festive season: SADAG

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Operations director at the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) Casey Chambers, says since the COVID-19 pandemic, many people may still be dealing with grief or a shift in financial circumstances.

This could lend added stress and anxiety over the festive period. Chambers says while Christmas and New Year’s can’t be cancelled, a well-thought-out plan going into the festive season, does help.

“So simple things that you can do to start off the festive season is putting together a budget, making sure, you know, writing down a list. What do you have to buy, who do you have to buy for, how much money you have, how much you are going to spend.

It just goes into having this list, this idea, and having this plan. So that you don’t find yourself overspending or not having a clear idea. And maybe you’re standing in the middle of a shop feeling overwhelmed: who else do I have to buy for, what else do I have to do, you know, what have I forgotten?”

What’s key according to Chambers, is for those close to people with mental health issues, to help lighten the load.

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She says this does not mean having the answers, but simply just being there.

“Do you want me to go with you to the shops? Do you need help with your shopping? Do you want me to go and do it for you? Why don’t we just sit and chat. You know you can also do a mental health check-in with your loved one: How are you feeling? How are you doing? Let’s just have a break.

Let’s just talk about it. Very small practical things can really help break up a busy day, a busy week, break up those feelings of being overwhelmed and just letting that person know that you are there and that they’re not alone.”