A number of hotlines and other support groups are open over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Emma Wennerström is a counsellor with the child support group Bris:
“We often take it for granted that everyone is longing for the holidays and Christmas Eve,” she tells Swedísh Radio in Östergötland. “But that isn’t so for everyone. You might have divorced parents and feel bad about the one you aren’t celebrating Christmas with. Or there might be problems at home.”
She says many young people feel alone when school closes for the holidays and they can’t see their classmates or teachers.
To help them there are local and national hotlines available online or over the telephone. Besides the Bris hotline for children and young people, there are also support lines for women, the Suicide Prevention Line, or for those with mental health issues or eating disorders.
All the holiday feasting can be a serious problem for some. Catherine Koff works with an organization called Frisk och Fri for those with problems eating:
“Christmas is a difficult time for someone with an eating disorder and those close to them,” she tells Swedish Radio’s P3 News. “And it’s a time when people might notice that you have a problem.”
Catherine Koff suffered from an eating disorder herself, and remembers Christmas as a difficult period.
“Everything around food is charged. We’re supposed to eat together and have such a great time with family and friends.”
Over Christmas Frisk och Fri has expanded its online chat and e-mail, its telephone hotline, and its drop-in hours. And many other organizations will be open to offer their help.
Here are links to some of them: