Fears of a looming winter of worry over health, money and Christmas have prompted Samaritans in Welwyn Hatfield to urge people to call the charity for emotional support.

More than two thirds of people are worried about the cost of living this winter, according to a study by Savanta ComRes.

Rising prices, the end of the temporary rise in Universal Credit, together with warnings about stock in shops, are among the factors causing this.

Among the challenges facing the country, people are most anxious about rising gas prices, with 71 per cent expressing worry about them, according to YouGov, with 39 per cent concerned about shortages of groceries.

And with Omicron cases and NHS waiting lists high, and warnings over the severity of the flu season, health is a widespread concern, too.

Samaritans' own research shows that, in any year, Christmas and winter always lead people to worry about their mental wellbeing, particularly fearing loneliness and being apart from their families.

Samaritans branch director Susannah Fenton said: “People may feel nervous about the current Covid rules.

"You could be feeling uncertain about what will happen over winter, or worried about the new challenges that have come with Omicron.

“We’re here to support our callers as they work through their choices without judging them or telling them what to do.

“We know Christmas and winter bring their own mental health problems and that’s why we want to remind people that we’re here to support them.”

Samaritans is a nationwide 24/7 service offering emotional support as well as signposting people to organisations offering specialist help and advice.

It offers a free app that helps users track their mood and find practical tips and techniques to look after their emotional health. It’s available at https://selfhelp.samaritans.org/

Anyone can contact Samaritans FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email jo@samaritans.org or visit www.samaritans.org. 

Every day, Samaritans volunteers respond to around 10,000 calls for help.

Samaritans is a charity and it's the public’s kind donations and more than 20,000 volunteers that mean it is always there for anyone struggling to cope.

You can support Samaritans in Welwyn Hatfield by texting SHUSH to 70085 to donate £3. Messages cost £3 plus your standard network rate. You can follow Samaritans on social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.