Rose City residents facing bleak Christmas alone, isolated
FOR many Warwick residents, the Christmas holiday period is void of the usual celebrations and joyfulness and is instead tinged with crippling loneliness.
At 55 years of age, Kim Manthey dreads the impending holiday period.
Facing difficult financial times, estranged from family, and plagued by bad health and anxiety, Ms Manthey said she was virtually a prisoner in her home.
She remembers a time in which December was filled with family and making happy memories but says those days are long gone.
"Often we'd head to Coolangatta," she said.
"Everyone was there, all the family and friends and it was brilliant.
"Playing on the beach, getting sunburnt to a crisp, swimming, playing games - it was like paradise."
Ms Manthey said her Christmas was far from that paradise.
"What's the point of it all, if there's no family to share it with?
"You've got to have the money to afford it all and then you've got to have someone to spend the money on. It's just become a sad time for me."
Ms Manthey said social media amplified the burden.
"Everywhere I look there's happiness and excitement, other people's families enjoying the season, holidays and fun," she said.
"I just have to pretend it's another day.
"For three years now, there's been no Christmas here. It would be nice to have it back - but first I need my health back, then my family. They're the things that really matter."
And though her story is terribly sad, the Warwick resident is just one of many who face loneliness and isolation this December.
Warwick psychologist Mark Cary said there were myriad reasons Christmas could be an unhappy time.
"Perhaps this time of year coincides with the anniversary of the loss of a loved one," he said.
"Christmas can exacerbate feelings of grief, loneliness and emptiness, especially if a family is no longer together. It can also be a time when people who don't particularly want to spend time together have to spend time together, leading to tension and anxiety of other members of the family.
"It can also highlight to some how inadequate they feel their lives are, not being able to afford what they feel they have to provide."
St Vincent de Paul Society executive officer Kathie Brosnan, said the society's main mission was to offer support.
"We do that in lots of different ways, at Christmas we add things like our hampers," she said.
"To see the excitement when the hamper is delivered is worth every moment - most deliveries are made to people we know struggle, so they're not expecting it, and it's magical, adding that little spark to a rough time of year."
If you are struggling, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14
Christmas adds pressure in hostile households
At Christmas time, domestic violence rises significantly and police see a spike in reported incidents.
Warwick Safehaven president Bette Bonney said in an already stressful home environment, the pressures of Christmas could make things worse.
"Finances can get out of control and things start to stretch out and become very highly strung," Mrs Bonney said.
"It's also hot and in a lot of instances, there's a lot of alcohol drunk and if there's already a propensity for violence, things can be much worse."
Mrs Bonney said for victims of domestic violence Christmas could add pressure, especially when there were children involved.
"I've met a lot of extremely brave women who do their very best to make Christmas a positive experience for their children," she said.
"It's a motherly instinct to want to have the family together at this time of year."
If you or someone else needs help, take note of the following numbers.
In case of emergencies call 000.
If you need support call DV Connect - 24 hours/ seven days 1800811811 or Mensline: 1300789978