Pilbara health professionals are encouraging people to take care of their mental wellbeing as they approach the festive season. The Christmas and New Year period has historically been a challenging time for people living in the region, with Pathways Therapeutic Services director Courtney Robinson saying there is often a spike in mental health issues during this time. “I think it is that time when I think probably almost all mental health professionals will say leading up to Christmas it’s a time when we have more suicides and suicide risk increases. It’s a really a time that kind of brings up a lot of different emotions and issues for people,” she said. “It’s not always a happy time. “Family systems are really complex and not always so rosy so the thought of family time can really bring feelings of anxiety, sadness, maybe disappointment, ambivalence. “So it can really highlight maybe what’s not working well in our lives and trigger some of these strong emotions.” Ms Robinson notes reaching out to those we trust, getting in touch with medical support and nurturing connections can help maintain mental health. “It’s best not to wait until you sort of hit that crisis point, which I know a lot of people tend to do. You can really take some preventative steps to ensure you are looking after yourself during that time,” she said. headspace Pilbara community development worker Dee Juskov said while the change in routine during the holiday period can cause stress for people, it was important to maintain daily tasks you enjoy. “All the small acts every day to make yourself feel positive and happy and like your own self. Continue that routine because that will get you through,” she said. headspace Pilbara pathways project officer Amy Robbins reminded people to get regular sleep, be easy on themselves and don’t get carried away with expectations.