NSW Nationals Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor, Chief NSW Psychiatrist Dr Murray Wright, and Lifeline Chairman John Brogden are calling on the community to be aware of their own mental health and that of their family and loved ones while COVID-19 restrictions remain in place.
Mrs Taylor said lockdown can be an incredibly stressful time for families, parents, and children.
“Look out for your family and friends, check in with them and see how they’re doing and, most importantly, reach out for help when you need it. There are services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Anyone in crisis can reach out at any time of day to get the help they need,” Mrs Taylor said.
Dr Wright said the message of hope is extremely important during this challenging time.
“It’s a message that’s been lost in much of the recent coverage, but we need to reassure ourselves that the current situation is temporary. It will end, especially as our vaccination coverage increases,” Dr Wright said.
“Now, more than ever, we need to spread that message of hope, but we also acknowledge it is a challenging time for many people. We continue to monitor what is happening across the state and support the mental health of our community, especially our young people.”
With Lifeline taking a record numbers of calls, national Chairman John Brogden said it was more important than ever for people to continue seeking help when they need it.
“The silver lining to this unprecedented demand is that people who need help are reaching out – many for the first time,” Mr Brogden said.
“Just as we’re all doing our bit to protect everyone’s physical health, it is critical we also look after our mental health. The NSW government has made mental health a priority and it is helping keep our volunteers on the phones and saving lives.”
In July, a $17.35m joint package with the NSW Nationals in the federal government was announced to support people in lockdown and isolation.
The package includes:
• $7 million for headspace outreach support to parents and young people across greater Sydney
• $3 million for Sonder to provide anyone subject to a mandatory 14-day isolation order with 24/7 health and wellbeing support, with an emphasis on early intervention, for the entire duration of their isolation period – jointly funded by NSW Nationals in the state and federal governments;
• $3 million to support Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities.
• $1.5 million for Lifeline to boost crisis counselling services;
• $150,000 for Gidget Foundation to provide counselling services for parents suffering from perinatal depression and anxiety.
• Free access for 8,000 new parents to the Tresillian SleepWell baby app, through a funding injection of $100,000.
This funding is in addition to the record $10.9 billion over the next four years in mental health funding announced in the 2021-22 Budget, including $2.6 billion in 2021-22 for mental health services to continue important work that supports people in need across the state.
If life is in danger, dial 000 (Triple Zero) immediately. For crisis support, call Lifeline 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800. For mental health advice, call Beyond Blue on 1800 512 348. To connect with specialist mental health services, call the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.