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Mental health charity and Twitter shine a light on the pressures of Christmas

By Jemma Crew, PA Health and Science Correspondent

A mental health charity has joined up with Twitter to encourage users to have open conversations about the pressures of Christmas.

Calm (Campaign Against Living Miserably) is hoping that the online discussions will show that Christmas is not always “the most wonderful time of the year” for everyone.

Using the hashtag #YuleSlog, celebrities including Made In Chelsea’s Louise Thompson and actress Vicky McClure are sharing posts showing how the festive period can be less than perfect.

It comes as a survey showed almost half of Twitter users felt anxious over pressure to have fun, lonely or left out of social events over Christmas.

While the period is typically associated with joyfulness and giving, people also can come under pressure to have a ‘perfect’ Christmas, experience family struggles and feel nostalgia for past Christmases.

These feelings can be exacerbated by social media posts of seemingly perfect get-togethers.

Line of Duty star McClure tweeted: “The pressure to have an amazing Christmas, we all want it to go smoothly, it never does!

“So whatever you see on people’s social media this Christmas, that ‘perfection’ is never a true reflection xxx #YuleSlog”.

The charity has created the acronym Noel to give people tips on how to cope.

These include say No, Open up, Enjoy what you can, and Look forward.

Simon Gunning, chief executive of the Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm), said: “The festive period can be a difficult time for lots of people, with 49% of Twitter users saying they felt pressured to have fun during the festive period.

In partnering with Twitter for the #YuleSlog campaign we want to acknowledge this and let people know that Calm understands.

“Spreading a message of reality and positivity can be empowering for those struggling through this period and with this partnership we aim to celebrate the power of connection and communication, something we see through our free and anonymous helpline and webchat, which are open from 5pm-midnight every day across Christmas.”

Katy Minshall, head of UK Government, Public Policy and Philanthropy at Twitter said: “We’re pleased to partner with Calm in this campaign as it leverages Twitter’s public nature to encourage conversation around mental health – a topic that isn’t easy to discuss especially at Christmas time.

“Calm’s great work spans all year and hopefully #YuleSlog can generate some openness and support for those who need it.”