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Samaritans' plea: 'Call us if you've got winter worries about Covid, cash or Christmas'

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Fears of a winter of worries about health, money and Christmas have prompted Samaritans in Bishop's Stortford to urge people to call them for emotional support.

More than two-thirds of people are worried about the cost of living this winter, according to a study by Savanta Comres. Rising prices, the end of the temporary uplift in Universal Credit and warnings about stocks in shops are among factors causing this.

People are most anxious about rising gas prices, with 71% expressing worry about them, according to YouGov, with 39% worried about grocery shortages.

And with Omicron cases and NHS waiting lists high and warnings over the severity of the flu season, health is a widespread concern too.

Samaritans' own research shows that, in any year, Christmas and winter always lead people to worry about their mental wellbeing, particularly fearing loneliness and being apart from their families.

Susannah Fenton, director of the Ware-based Herts and Essex branch that covers the Stortford area, said: “People may feel nervous about the current Covid rules. You could be feeling uncertain about what will happen over winter, or worried about the new challenges that have come with Omicron.

“We’re here to support our callers as they work through their choices without judging them or telling them what to do.

“We know Christmas and winter bring their own mental health problems and that’s why we want to remind people that we’re here to support them.”

Samaritans is a nationwide 24/7 service offering emotional support as well as signposting people to organisations offering specialist help and advice.

It offers a free app that helps users track their mood and find practical tips and techniques to look after their emotional health. It’s available at https://selfhelp.samaritans.org/.

Anyone can contact Samaritans free any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. The number will not show up on your phone bill. Or you can email jo@samaritans.org or visit www.samaritans.org.

Every day, Samaritans volunteers respond to around 10,000 calls for help. Samaritans is a charity, and public donations and more than 20,000 volunteers mean they are always there for anyone struggling to cope.

You can support Samaritans in Bishop's Stortford by texting SHUSH to 70085 to donate £3. Messages cost £3 plus your standard network rate. You can follow Samaritans on social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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