Break people's loneliness with a phone call or message
The Catholic Bishop with responsibility for work in support of mental health has invited people to get in contact with friends and family who may be having a difficult start to the year.
His suggestion is timely, with January 20 known as 'Blue Monday' – supposedly the most depressing day of the year, when the jubilance of the festive season has worn off and over–spending at Christmas is catching up with people.
"At this time of year many people are suffering from a variety of expressions of mental stress," said Bishop Richard Moth.
"Some will be counting the days and hours until payday, perhaps concerned about debt. Others who, having seen family and friends over the Christmas and New Year break, are now facing, once again, loneliness and isolation.
"Many people are affected by the long dark nights or stress at work. All-in-all January can be a very tough month for people."
The bishop suggests that people use social media to get in touch with those who may be struggling. "While professional help should always be sought if necessary, for many a simple loving gesture can help to alleviate immediate symptoms," the bishop says.
"Twitter, Facebook and SMS all offer us a free and easy way to send someone a short uplifting message...Your little gesture could make all the difference in the world."
The Catholic Church will be tweeting daily uplifting messages this week, sharing the hope found in the Gospel in the hopes of showing care and concern for those who are finding life particularly hard.
The themes include: You are loved; Rest for your soul; Asking, seeking, finding; Be not afraid; God is near; Hope and New life. The Bishops' Conference Facebook page will also be providing material, including a short prayer.
It doesn't just stop at social media either. The importance of physical contact is also highlighted by the bishop. "Do consider those you know who might benefit from contact at the moment, and please don't leave it there," he adds. "If you can pay someone a visit, or give them a phone call, don't hold back".