Open all hours

For many people this is the last working day before the Christmas holidays. If Christmas is painful, having to endure it without the distraction of work is a daunting prospect.

Each winter issue we publish a list of helplines and online forums that are open for all or most of the holidays. Here is this year’s one.

Also, have a look out for hashtags connecting people or highlighting support. Lots will spring up on the 24th and 25th of December and in the meantime #grief is always worth a look.

Open All Hours

In the middle of the night and when everything is closed for the holidays, helplines and online forums are there for you. There is always, always someone to talk to so don’t suffer in silence.

If you’re online, have a look at the social media accounts of these groups and charities. Some only post fundraising information but others post regular messages to help you along, highlight useful resources or let you connect with others in the same situation.

A – Z
of some but there are more out there

Offers free weekly friendship calls to the over 60s. If you’re under 60 why not be one of the volunteers making the calls?

Alzheimer’s Society
Volunteers moderate all the online forums here and one is for people bereaved after caring for someone with dementia

The Campaign Against Living Miserably is dedicated to men’s mental health. Their free helpline and webchat services are open from 5pm to midnight every day of the year. Call 0800 58 58 58 or visit for their webchat

Carers Trust
Lots of chat rooms and discussion boards for people currently caring for someone

Carers UK
One of the online forums here is for former carers, where bereaved carers can connect to share support and advice

Child Bereavement UK
Bereaved children of any age can receive confidential support via Child Bereavement UK’s helpline on 0800 02 888 40 or email address. See details on their website

This charity offers free and confidential advice and support to anyone up to the age of nineteen. Although traditionally associated with bullying and domestic abuse, the service offers help to young people with whatever subject is concerning them.

The helpline is 0800 1111 On their website you’ll also find ways to connect through online chat or message boards

Cruse Bereavement Care
Predominantly a network of local volunteer counsellors, as well as educators on bereavement, Cruse also offers a free helpline and email support service.

The helpline is 0808 808 1677 on office hours and not bank holidays

Their email support service was developed for people who finding talking difficult but can put their thoughts down in an email.

Both services are run by trained bereavement volunteers. Details on their website

It stands for Friendly, Confidential Drug Advice and has an all day, every day helpline that charges at national call rates: 0300 123 6600 or for people with hearing impairments 0300 123 1099

You can text FRANK on 82111 or contact through their website for online chat between 2pm – 6pm any day of the week

Hope Again
This is Cruse for teens and young adults.

The youngsters in your life can contact them by email at or call their free helpline between 9.30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday on 0808 808 1677

They also have a Pinterest board

Jolly Dollies and Jolly Gents
These social networks charge a membership fee for putting you in touch with members in your area. Members are encouraged to form groups and arrange outings together. There is also a closed online community for members.

Macmillan cancer support
This charity’s website has several busy online forums, including one for anyone who has lost a husband, wife, partner or civil partner to cancer

There is also a free helpline if you need to talk to someone about anything related to cancer. The opening hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm 0808 808 00 00

For support when living with cancer or being the family or friend of anyone with cancer. They have local bereavement support groups and also online facilitated support groups. Sign up beforehand so that you’ll have received any passwords and instructions in good time.

Marie Curie
Among all their support for terminally ill people, you’ll also find an online community for people bereaved after caring for someone with a terminal illness

Merry Widow
Perhaps the UK’s first open discussion board for widowed people. Created by Kate Boydell, author of Death and How To Survive It, you don’t have to join anything to take part and it is always busy

Missing People
This charity’s forum supports families of people who are missing. It is moderated, you can register to join on the site, and the public cannot see the posts.

There is also a free helpline you can text, call or email any time on any day: 116 000

In addition to telephone and email support, this year the Samaritans is running a campaign called Real Christmas, which includes the hashtag #RealChristmas for finding and sharing information on social media and advice on how to listen more to people at this time of year.

Their free 24/7 phoneline is 116 123 There is also an email service via and many local branches offer the opportunity to talk to someone face-to-face, about anything at all that you need to talk about

Support After Murder and Manslaughter
SAMM’s confidential online forum for families bereaved by homicide, has over 600 members and is open 24 hours a day
There is also a helpline called at local rates on 0845 872 3440

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide
There is no online forum here but there are helpline and an email support options, both staffed by volunteers. There are also an email addresses for support if you or the person who died was lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning.

Visit the website for details of the email addresses

Or call the helpline, which is open 9am to 9pm every day on 0300 111 5065

The Mix
A website with helpline and online chat support for thirteen to twenty-five year olds. This non-profit aims to answers embarrassing or difficult question. Visit their website or call their free helpline on 0808 808 4994

The Silver Line
In less than three years since it was set up, The Silver Line has received over 1million calls. The number is free, confidential and offers friendship and advice for older people, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
The number is: 0800 4 70 80 90

WAY and WAY Up
This is a national network of volunteer-run groups that self-organise social events for widowed people. WAY is for men and women under 50 and WAY Up is for the over 50s. There is a membership fee, members only online forums and a members only free and confidential helpline. and

Winston’s Wish
As part of their support to bereaved children, Winston’s Wish offers a helpline and email support service to parents or anyone supporting a bereaved child

Young Minds’ Parents’ helpline
For free and confidential advice if you are worried about the emotional wellbeing of your children. The helpline is open from 9.30am to 4pm from Monday to Friday on 0808 802 5544

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