Support during the Christmas period…

Hi everyone,

The festive season can be an incredibly difficult and stressful time for many - and of course, particularly strange/challenging this year.

As such, in the lead up to Christmas, the present blog post aims to set out various resources and helplines that can support you during this festive season. Whether specifically for your axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA), or for if you are generally feeling down and alone. Please, don’t ever be afraid to ask for help.

We also have an extensive list of resources over on our resources page, or within the following blog posts:; Many of which include a tonne of recorded videos (especially the NASS YouTube!): on everything from mindfulness and yoga, to high-intensity exercise or coping with fatigue.

As always, please let us know if there is anything we have missed or that you think should be included by contacting

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

All the best,
The Project Nightingale Team


Please note that the opening times of some of the below helplines may vary over the Christmas period. However, NHS 111 and the Samaritans are free and available 24/7, 365 days a year.

National Axial Spondyloarthritis Society

Garry, Sally and Zoe are available to chat Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm. Do give them a call on 020 8741 1515. You can also email at with any questions and they will aim to get back to you as soon as possible. Usually that’s within one working day but at very busy times it can take a little longer.

The helpline can assist with many different topics, from questions about your medication, to queries about living with axial SpA, and even help with PIP and benefits claims. For further information on how NASS can help support you, visit their website:

As mentioned above, the NASS YouTube page is also an excellent resource – with tonnes of videos to help you understand and better manage your axial SpA: The following videos below by NASS member Sophie Matthew may be a good place to start – providing an introduction to mindfulness for axial SpA. With a global pandemic, complicated tiers & Christmas fast approaching - we could all use a bit of mindfulness! When was the last time you stopped?

Read more about mindfulness:​ For more advice about self-managing your axial SpA, visit NASS will also have a LIVE cookalong on the 19th December at 3pm, with James Hillery (from the Great British Bake Off) baking amaretti biscuits Keep up to date with all live events in the New Year on our Events page here:

Versus Arthritis

You don’t need to face arthritis alone. The advisors at Versus Arthritis aim to bring all of the information and advice about arthritis into one place to provide tailored support for you. Call 0800 5200 520 for free today (Monday–Friday, 9am–8pm, excluding bank holidays). All calls are free from all UK landlines and on consumer mobile phones. Please note that the advisors aren’t medically trained and aren’t able to offer you individual medical advice. We recommend that you speak with your GP or another healthcare professional for one-to-one medical advice. Versus arthritis also have an email at: Or you can write to them at: Helpline, Versus Arthritis, Copeman House, St Mary’s Court, St Mary’s Gate, Chesterfield S41 7TD. Visit their website for more information about how they can support you: You can also speak to the helpline, as well as other people with arthritis, through their online community:

NHS 111

NHS 111 is available 24/7, 365 days a year. Calls to NHS 111 are free from a landline or mobile phone. You can also go online at If you think you have an urgent medical concern, call 111. Depending on the situation, the team of trained advisors can connect you to a nurse, dentist or even a GP.


Samaritans are also available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They are there day or night, for anyone who’s struggling to cope, or who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure. Call them at any time, day or night for free, on 116 123. Or contact Samaritans also have a self-help app, so that you can keep track of how you’re feeling and get recommendations for things that you can do to help yourself cope, feel better and stay safe in a crisis. Visit the Samaritans website at People contact the Samaritans with all sorts of concerns and what might be a small issue to you may be huge to someone else. You could be going through something new or have been struggling to cope for some time, either way, they are there if you feel you need some extra support. If what’s getting to you isn’t on this list, please still get in touch. But common reasons people contact the Samaritans are: relationship and family problems; loss, including loss of a friend or a family member through bereavement; financial worries; job-related stress; college or study-related stress; loneliness and isolation; depression; painful and/or disabling physical illness; heavy use of or dependency on alcohol or other drugs; thoughts of suicide.