TOOELE, UT (Daily Dish) – Pathways, a domestic violence shelter, is working to help people all year around and especially during the holiday season.

Wendy Stilson, the Pathways director of shelter services says during this time of year people often feel stressed and have increased depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. She says the shelter also she’s seen an increase in domestic violence during the holidays. Stilson says some things to look out for are isolation and unexplained bruises or marks. She says that it’s important to talk to your loved, “The first thing you should say is I believe you. I do. I care about you,” said Stilson. She says it’s important for people to have that confidence and know someone believes what they are saying.

Patrick Adams, a licensed clinical social worker, says it’s important to check in with loved ones this time of year but also take time for yourself. Adams says if you are felling overwhelmed or too stressed out, reach out to someone that can help you process those difficult emotions. He also suggests taking your mind off of stress of the holidays by going on a walk or doing something outside.

Stilson says if you are worried for your safety and need to leave an unhealthy situation make sure to pack an escape bag. This is a bag of all the essential items you would need at a moments notice. This will help you be prepared in case of a crisis. She says to have some of the following items ready:

  • Spare car keys
  • Driver license
  • A list of your credit cards so that you can track any activity on them
  • Checkbook, Money
  • Phone numbers for friends, relatives, doctors, schools, and your local domestic violence organization
  • A change of clothing for you and your children
  • Any medication that you or your children usually take
  • Copies of your children’s birth certificates, Social Security cards, school records and immunizations
  • Copies of legal documents , such as Social Security cards, passports, green cards, medical records, insurance information, birth certificates, marriage license, wills, welfare identification information and copies of any court orders (such as your protection order or custody order)
  • Copies of financial documents such as pay stubs, bank account information, a list of credit cards you hold by yourself or together with the abuser;
  • Any evidence you’ve been collecting to show that you’ve been abused
  • A few things you want to keep, like photographs, jewelry or other personal items

These are just some of the items you might want to pack, but everyone is different so pack what you think is most important to you.

If you or someone you know needs helps reach out: