Crisis Center of Tampa Bay: It’s OK to not be OK during holiday season

While the holidays are a time that many people look forward to, it’s not the most wonderful time of the year for everybody.

The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay receives an increase in calls during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. But they want to remind people that even if you’re not feeling merry and bright, it’s OK.

The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay told FOX 13 they’re already beginning to see their call volume increase as more people call in due to the holiday season being a trigger for many. They say that while their call center is starting to get busy now, it will only get busier.

The holidays can be difficult for many, whether it be because they’re missing a family member and they’re lonely or they’re going through a rough time. However, this holiday season, there are additional stressors involved: the pandemic, many have lost jobs, money might be tight or maybe the individual is dreading a family gathering with people they haven’t seen in a long time.

READ: ‘A little too extreme’: Tampa family could face fines for putting Christmas lights up before Thanksgiving

Whatever the reason, those at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay say that anyone can experience depression and anxiety. The good news is there is help and resources readily available.

"A lot of people feel that by reaching out for help that they’re somehow less, that they can’t handle their own finances or they can’t handle their own family issues. But one of the things that we try to relay to people when they call in, whether they feel embarrassed because they’re suicidal or they’re struggling with substance abuse issues, is that these are things that everyone goes through," said Eric Bledsoe with the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

The Mayo Clinic also released a list of ways to help handle stress and depression during the holiday season. They’re encouraging people to reach out to trusted friends and family, save the airing of grievances for another time and say no to events that you’re not emotionally available for.

They say keep up those healthy habits you already have in your life and know that you may not feel all right, but that’s OK.

If you’re not feeling like yourself or you just need someone to talk to, the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay has people by the phone 24/7 ready to listen and provide resources. You can reach them by dialing 211. 

If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (tel:18002738255). Or text HOME to 741-741 (Crisis Text Line).

CLICK HERE for the warning signs and risk factors of suicide. Call 1-800-273-TALK for free and confidential emotional support.