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Populus research published by Mind explores the impact that the festive season can have on mental health

The festive season is well-known for being a time for picking up last minute gifts, attending celebrations and preparing for the big day. However, this particular time of the year can also be the perfect storm for difficulty; a whirlwind of social engagements, obligations and other pressures, and indeed loneliness.

Populus research carried out on behalf of Mind finds that a third (36%) of people are too embarrassed to admit they feel lonely at Christmas, with over a quarter (26%) of those struggling emotionally saying they wouldn’t feel able to ask for help at Christmas.

The effects of this can be very severe. The research reveals that almost one in ten people admitted that they have considered taking their own lives because of the festive period (9%) with a similar number considering harming themselves.

The figure rises for people currently experiencing mental health problems, with double the number considering taking their own lives (20%) and almost a quarter considering self-harming in response to the festive period (23%).

Facing the festive season

The BBC published a helpful video on how to cope at the office Christmas party and similar events, citing research carried out by Populus on behalf of Mind finding that one third of adults in the UK are dreading the Christmas office party. It also has some helpful tips on how to manage the festive season. You can view it here.

BBC 5Live also spoke to Mind’s media volunteer Becky (start at 02:41:13) which you can listen to here.

Mind is calling on people to donate to their Christmas Appeal at mind.org.uk/christmas

Populus’s Omnibus surveys are relied on by businesses, research agencies and government bodies as a cost-effective way of uncovering the insight they need to achieve their objectives. Find out more by calling +44 [0]20 7253 9900 or emailing info@populus.co.uk.


Populus interviewed a nationally representative sample of 2051 UK adults aged 18+ between 1 and 2 November 2017. Data were weighted in order to be demographically representative of adults in the UK. The data excludes responses where a person preferred not to answer a particular question or for whom the questions were not applicable. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.populus.co.uk

View the full Data Tables here.

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