Holding Hands For Support

Simpson Millar Solicitors Supports People During the Holidays

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Elle Gauld

Solicitor, Public Law and Human Rights

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With the holiday season in full swing, Christmas reminders adorn the streets, shops, restaurants, TV programmes, and advertisements. We want to share our thoughts on the difficulties many people face during this period, and how you can look after yourself and others.

Though many of us relish in the Christmas festivities, there are a quarter of the UK population that stated that they struggle with their mental health at this time of year. Along with this, more than two in five Brits have felt stressed during the festivities, and one in four struggles with anxiety or depression. Sadly, this can be for a number of reasons.

The holidays can be a time for joy and celebration, but as many of our staff and clients know, it can also be a time of great difficulty for any number of reasons. For many of the survivors and victims of abuse we represent and support, Christmas can be tainted with the possibility of seeing abusers, family estrangement, or returning to settings of abuse. For our clients across other departments, the festive period can also be a time of loneliness, anxiety and enormous pressure, even if they’re surrounded by loved ones.

And it’s not just mentally people are feeling strained in this period, either. Christmas is renowned for bringing huge pressures, which can make financial situations unmanageable. Millions of people are set to have to make stark financial choices during the impact of the cost-of-living crisis in the UK, and 2.7 million of us will be choosing between buying food or presents on this important day. And whilst some children across the country will be waking up to presents on Christmas day, our heart goes out to the families who are struggling now, more than ever. Whether it’s your mental health, memories of past abuse coming back into your home, or financial stress – you should always remember, you are not alone.

At Simpson Millar, we feel strongly about supporting our clients. For many, this means helping them find support outside of their legal matters which we are helping resolve, even if it’s just for a quick conversation. While regular support networks can be interrupted at Christmas, you can still access support, information and advice through a number of organisations.

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Mental Health Resources

If you’re concerned about someone who you think could be vulnerable around the holidays, or you need some extra support yourself, the following charities offer help, advice, and online resources:

  • Samaritans– open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year www.samaritans.org 116123 (freephone)
  • MIND – Mental health charity https://www.mind.org.uk
  • CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably) is known for supporting male mental health; but, they will support anybody who needs them. Their helpline is open 5pm- midnight, 365 days a year. https://www.thecalmzone.net/ 0800 58 58 58
  • Papyrus – Suicide Prevention Charity – open 9am – midnight every day of the year www.papyrus-uk.org Call 0800 068 4141 or Text 07860 039967
  • The Survivors’ Trust – an umbrella agency for specialist rape and sexual abuse services The Survivors Trust
  • Hub of Hope – a database of Mental Health Services thought the UK https://hubofhope.co.uk
  • Cruse – for those struggling with bereavement https://www.cruse.org.uk/ 0808 808 1677 (Limited opening hours over Christmas and the new Year)
  • There is also a there are a huge number of valuable resources including a support line which can be fine through the NAPAC website. NAPAC – supporting recovery from childhood abuse www.napac.org.uk

There is help out there if you need it during the festive period and hopefully this will help to signpost some organisations.

Don’t struggle alone – reach out for help

Whilst it’s hard to keep positive when the smiling families emblazon the TV screen, you should reach out to those closest to you if you feel apprehensive or isolated. For many survivors the possibility of seeing abusers or estranged family in the same setting can return the feelings that you’re trying to overcome. 80% of all types of abuse occur within the family, so we understand this period is an uncomfortable time.

We want to help anyone that is struggling, and we’ve taken some tips from The National Association for People Abused in Childhood. Here is ‘A Survivor’s Guide to Christmas’, and we hope it helps you navigate this time with peace and happiness.

1)      Reach out

There will never be any shame in sharing with someone how you are feeling, no matter what time of year it is. Having one conversation could not just change your day, but brighten those around you too. If you struggle with someone to talk to, then reach out to the helplines listed above, where a friendly voice is always there to answer.

2)      Make self-care a priority 

It’s important to implement a good self-care routine, as the Christmas period can cause you to spiral in an emotional turmoil. Perhaps increase the normal amount of existing self-care or create a new routine, so you can distract yourself. This isn’t about fun activities, but more like taking care of your diet, planning for the year ahead, and having a good bedtime routine. Make a list of all your favourite things to do and try and get them ticked off. By the end of the list – we’ll be on to a happy, healthy new year!

3)      Set boundaries and be prepared 

Remember, you don’t always have to say ‘yes’. You are entitled to say no to gatherings if your mental and physical wellbeing isn’t at the forefront of the decision. Create boundaries to reduce the time you are in the situations that make you uncomfortable. You don’t have to be a people pleaser, just look out for yourself.

Contact Us

When you’ve suffered any kind of sexual or physical abuse, it can take a long time before you feel ready to talk about it. Reporting abuse can take a lot of courage, so when you're ready to talk, we're ready to listen.

Our specialist team of Abuse Claims Solicitors are compassionate, understanding, and easy to talk to. We’ll handle your case with the sensitivity it deserves, offering you help and support throughout the whole process. Call us on 0808 239 1287 and let us help you.


Medium. (n.d.). Surviving Christmas. [Online] Available at: https://medium.com/trauma-breakthrough/surviving-christmas-ba5056206e2f

The Guardian. (2023, December 6). Heat Homes for Christmas, Says UK National Debtline. [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2023/dec/06/heat-homes-christmas-uk-national-debtline-food-presents

Mind. (n.d.). [Online] Available at: https://www.mind.org.uk/

CALM. (n.d.). [Online] Available at: https://www.thecalmzone.net/

The Survivors Trust. (n.d.). [Online] Available at: https://www.thesurvivorstrust.org/

NAPAC. (n.d.). A Survivor's Guide to Christmas. [Online] Available at: https://napac.org.uk/a-survivors-guide-to-christmas/

Elle Gauld

Solicitor, Public Law and Human Rights

Areas of Expertise:
Public Law & Human Rights

Elle Gauld is a Solicitor in our Public Law and Human Rights team, based in London.

Elle received a BA degree in Classics from Oxford University in 2015 and furthered her legal education by completing the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) at BPP University. She has also completed the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at the University of Law in 2021.

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