Be Kind to Your Mind this Holiday Time

21 December 2021

As we emerge from lockdown, residents of the Illawarra Shoalhaven are being encouraged to give the gift of kindness this holiday season – to themselves and each other.

The festive season is meant to be a time of joy, but for some it can be a time of emotional distress, anxiety, sadness, loneliness or frustration due to delayed holiday or family reunion plans.

COORDINARE and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District have combined efforts to encourage people in South Eastern NSW to ‘Be Kind to Your Mind’ during the Christmas and New Year period.

Dianne Kitcher, CEO of COORDINARE said, “The holiday season is a busy time of year and is usually accompanied by high expectations and increased social activity. This year, feelings of stress and anxiety may be heightened over the holiday period.

“The ‘Be Kind to Your Mind this holiday time’ message highlights the importance of taking some time out; seeking help when it’s needed and checking on loved ones throughout the holiday season.

“If you or a loved one needs support, there are a range of specialised support services in our region that are readily available to provide support and assistance. These include 24-hour crisis support services, counselling support services and community service organisations.

Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District’s Director of Mental Health Julie Carter said, “For those who have lost a loved one, Christmas can intensify feelings of grief and sadness. People who have experienced a mental health concern may shy away from social interactions because of embarrassment, unfortunate past experiences, or being overwhelmed by the situation.

“For those of us who have the capacity to assist others, reaching out can benefit our own wellbeing. A simple act of kindness can help people see that someone is thinking or caring about them, especially people who don’t have stable housing, income, strong family connections or friends.

“Families come in all different sizes, blends and often with complex histories. Many families have tension that can worsen at Christmas time, leaving a mix of emotions that can manifest in unhealthy ways. This is where our local services can help and provide support,” added Ms Carter.

To access help, call 1800 595 212 to be referred to the right service in your postcode, anywhere in South Eastern NSW.


Free mental health services in South Eastern NSW

Head to Health service

To support the mental health of people of all ages - to self-refer, call 1800 595 212. For more information, please visit:


A free six-session psychological therapies service for people over age 16 that teaches practical ways to manage stress, anxiety, and depression. No referral is required and there is no waitlist. The service can be delivered via telehealth, over the phone or face-to-face. Developed by Beyond Blue and delivered by Wellways Australia. For more information, please visit the Wellways website.

To self-refer, call 1300 921 535 or click here.

C2bMe (Continuing to be me)

Psychological therapy for people aged 65+ (or age 55+ if Indigenous) living in residential aged care or their own homes, provided by Parramatta Mission. Suitable for people with mild to moderate mental health issues and/or are experiencing social isolation or loneliness due to the pandemic. To access call 1800 422 263. For more information, click here.

Alcohol and Drug supports

  • Call the 24-hour National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015
  • Download a free self-help app such as Hello Sunday Morning
  • Dall a free telephone coaching service such as Get Healthy NSW on 1300 806 258
  • Get facts about alcohol and other drugs on the Your Room website
  • If you want Illawarra Drug and Alcohol Service (IDAS) to SMS you, send your name to 0497
    652 227 and we will get back to you during business hours.
  • Or phone 1300 652 226 to speak to someone at Illawarra Drug and Alcohol Service.
  • You can also drop in for a chat at - Wollongong: 2 Rawson Street. Monday – Friday 8:30am–4pm | Nowra: 47 Berry Street. Monday – Friday 8:30am-4pm

For more information on services in your area, please click here.


Suicide Prevention

Safe Haven - Wollongong

PH: 0401 561 164 or email:

Safe Haven is a walk-in, welcoming and supportive space, for people experiencing suicidal distress that may not want to go to the Emergency Department. It is located at 55 Urunga Parade, Wollongong. Safe Haven is located not far from Wollongong Hospital and is designed to feel less like a clinic and more like a visit to a friend’s house - a place where people in suicidal distress can feel safe in the company of a team of trained peer workers who have their own lived experience of suicidality.

Suicide Prevention Outreach Team (SPOT) – Nowra

Many people in suicidal distress or experiencing situational crisis find it challenging to locate timely, appropriate care. SPOT provides outreach within the community should people not be comfortable going to an Emergency Department or leaving where they live to access support. The team can be accessed by calling the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.

Psychosocial Support Program

Peer worker-led groups for people with complex mental health needs. To contact the Flourish Australia service near you, please click here.

Service Navigation for Psychosocial Supports

Helps support people to identify and locate the most suitable mental health services for their needs. This service helps people to navigate the range of community supports that are available and discover which best meets their needs. For more information, please click here.

Head to Health digital gateway

Head to Health brings together apps, online programs, online forums, phone supports and treatment options as well as a range of digital information resources. To find out more, please click here.

This Way Up

This Way Up is a trusted Australian provider of evidence-based, internet-delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programs for a range of anxiety disorders, depression, and related mental health conditions for teenagers and adults. For more information, please click here


For crisis support call Lifeline 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800
For a referral to specialist mental health services call the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.
In an emergency call Triple Zero (OOO)

Community, Illawarra Shoalhaven, Media release, Mental health, Southern NSW