A SERVICE which has helped thousands of people across the district with mental health conditions is urging anyone who's struggling this Christmas not to suffer in silence.

Bradford District and Craven Talking Therapies says support will be available throughout the festive period.

The scheme – which is open to anybody over 16 registered with a GP in Bradford, Wharfedale, Airedale or Craven – offers a range of help to suit individual needs, including phone advice or one-to-one courses at locations across the district.

It also has a website, at bdctalkingtherapies.nhs.uk, which includes free guides and resources.

People can register online and don't have to go through their GP.

Bradford District and Craven Talking Therapies says one in four people will struggle with their mental health during their lifetime, and that the holiday season is traditionally a difficult time for many. Also, colder weather and shorter days can impact on people's mental health, with some experiencing seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression related to the changing seasons.

Naomi Holdsworth, the scheme's operations service manager, says: "Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, it's a time of year that can be challenging for many and often puts extra pressure on us.

"People often find themselves struggling with feelings of loneliness or concerns about family relationships, or have money worries.

"Whatever you may be feeling, you're never alone. If you are struggling to cope, we have a range of support to help and tips to look after your mental health over Christmas."

Advice includes:

* Consider what might be difficult about Christmas for you, and if there's anything that may help you cope.

* Think about whether you really need to do something if you're not looking forward to it. Can you do it differently, or for less time?

* Make a list of services that you might need and their Christmas opening hours.

* If you're worried about feeling lonely or isolated at Christmas, think of ways to help pass the time. If you can't be with the people you want to see in person, arrange a phone or video call to catch up with them on the day, or organise a visit around Christmas.

* Try to plan something nice to do after Christmas. Having something to look forward to could make a difference.

Details of mental health and wellbeing support services in Bradford and Craven can be found at healthyminds.services