Be kind this holiday season

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Tomorrow is officially December, which means Christmas is just around the corner. For some, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. But for others, it’s not.

Christmas is a time when most people are surrounded by family and friends, spending quality time together, exchanging gifts and indulging in turkey, stuffing, shortbread and sugar cookies.

But not everyone has family to celebrate with or may not have family close by, so it’s important to remember to include those who are alone during the holidays.

Christmas can also be detrimental to those suffering with mental illness. Often, people suffering from depression go through highs and lows. The holidays can create a high because of all the celebrations, excitement and distractions, but this can be followed up with a low.

Statistics released by the Centre for Suicide Prevention in Calgary show a trend where most suicides in Alberta occur in January, which isn’t surprising. Once January hits and everyone returns to their day-to-day lives, those suffering from depression can be reminded of their illness.

Christmas is also an expensive time of year. Whether it’s purchasing gifts, food for meals or outfits for parties, the bills can rack up. For those who have been laid off in today’s poor economy, Christmas is especially tough.

Maybe some of us who have had a better year could share a little of our fortune. There are so many organizations that provide for those in need at Christmas time. Whether it’s a national organization like The Salvation Army or a local organization like the Airdrie Food Bank – it’s worth donating to.

When you’re out doing your shopping, remember to be kind to those you cross paths with. Yes, things do get busy and it’s easy to lose patience when all you want to do is cross everything off your list so you can leave the hot, packed mall, get home, get into your pyjamas and enjoy a rewarding glass of wine. But everyone else is in the same boat.

Rather than getting mad at the cashier at Toys“R”Us because the toy you’re buying isn’t ringing in at the price you thought it was going to, be patient and let them fix the issue. It’s not their fault.

It’s important to always be kind, but especially during this time of year, because you never know what people are going through. Sometimes, those suffering from mental illness can hit a low during the holidays, because everyone around them seems to be happy and they are reminded they aren’t.

Take it from me – I have lost four people in my life to suicide. You don’t always see it coming.

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