Amid pressures to be “merry” and “happy”, nearly half of men admit that they actually feel depressed or sad over Christmas, a study by the Samaritans has revealed.
Out of 140 people polled by an online survey, 48 per cent of men said they feel low in December with 45 per cent saying their worries were the most troubling during the festive period compared to any other time of the year.
Around 37 per cent say they feel lonely during a time that is traditionally spent with friends and family and 30 per cent say they are stressed and anxious due to relationship and financial difficulties.
Quotes on depression
Quotes on depression
1/14 Alistair Campbell
Alistair Campbell: "One day, we will look back and wonder how on earth we used to believe that depression was a lifestyle choice, only to be debated and taken seriously when an A List film star took his life, and the world filled with people saying how shocked and saddened they were. "
2/14 On living with depression
Stephen Fry: "Depression is as real as the weather…it’s all about a kind of mental umbrella. 'Hey-ho, it’s raining inside: it isn’t my fault and there’s nothing I can do about it, but sit it out. But the sun may well come out tomorrow and when it does, I shall take full advantage.'"
3/14 On living with depression
Ernest Hemingway: "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." (He also said "happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know")
4/14 On living with depression
Jonathan Davis: "A lot of people don't realize that depression is an illness. I don't wish it on anyone, but if they would know how it feels, I swear they would think twice before they just shrug it."
5/14 On passing judgement on depression
Geoffrey Boycott: "Until you've had depression I don't think you're qualified to talk about it."
6/14 Jack Dee
Jack Dee: "I have had issues with depression all my life, and it's probably true to say there was a tendency towards it even when I was very young, during my schooldays. There was often - and this is quite common with comics - a sense of not feeling as if I belonged anywhere."
7/14 On living with depression
Jason Manford: "The world needs you even if you don't think it does. I promise, we need you here, now."
8/14 Author Jeanette Winterson
Art saved me; it got me through my depression and self-loathing, back to a place of innocence.
9/14 On life and depression
Agatha Christie: "I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know that just to be alive is a grand thing."
10/14 On living with depression
Albert Camus: "In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
11/14 On dealing with low mood
Dolly Parton "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."
12/14 If you're feeling depressed right now..
Annabel Giles: "If you’re depressed right now, then let's remember that we only have to do today, that's all. Nothing more. We can do just a day, can't we? And don’t forget, we haven't always been like this. The good days will come back. We've just go to do as much as we can, when we can."
13/14 Helen Keller on looking for the positive
Helen Keller: “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
14/14 On it happening to all of us
Mariella Frostrup: "Only those with skin as thick as elephant hide can hope to sail through their teens unscathed by self-doubt and bouts of depression."
Nigel, a Samaritans volunteer, said the charity was already starting to take calls from people feeling under pressure in the run up to Christmas.
He said: "Christmas can be a poignant time, bringing issues people face all year round to the surface, and can leave those normally strong enough to cope, struggling to do so.
"I listen to people telling me that they're alone, or that they've recently lost their partner, or that they're in huge amounts of debt.
"And it's even harder to deal with because it's Christmas, and the expectation that everyone is having a good time. It's so important that we're able to help these people through the festive season."
Men in the UK are three times more likely than women to take their own lives with most of those victims aged between 40 and 44, according to 2012 figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Men are also much more likely to bottle up their feelings compared to women and are less likely to feel positively about the potential benefits of counselling or therapy.
Last year, Samaritans received around 244,000 calls during the Christmas period from people suffering distress in the UK and Ireland.
Chief executive Catherine Johnstone said: "Many of our male callers have told us that Christmas is a tough time for them, which is why our inspirational volunteers will be available round the clock, for anyone who is struggling to cope, including on Christmas Day."
Samaritans support is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 08457 90 90 90 or visit their website.