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Lockdown pressure on mental health services

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Two leading Australian crisis support services have been inundated with calls for help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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Victorians made up almost half of all calls from across the country to Beyond Blue’s support services in the past week, data reveals.

Twice as many Victorians as normal have called the mental health organisation in the same period, Beyond Blue states.

There was a 66 per cent increase in calls to Beyond Blue’s support services in April and a 60 per cent uptick in May compared with the same period in 2019.

Calls to Beyond Blue were up 47 per cent in June compared with the previous June, the organisation reports.

“Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, people were reporting feeling worried, uncertain or overwhelmed and they were dealing with loneliness or family pressure,” Beyond Blue chief executive Georgie Harman said.

“In more recent times, we’ve seen more talk of exhaustion, fatigue, and concerns about the reintroduction of social restrictions.”

It comes as Melburnians head back into stay-at-home restrictions for six weeks due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the state.

There’s also been a 22 per cent increase in the number of Victorians picking up the phone to talk to Lifeline since Sunday compared with this time last year.

Lifeline Australia chairman John Brogden urged Victorians to call and have a chat rather than “suffer in silence”.

“So this 22 per cent spike in Victoria is a significant sign that the new lockdown measures are taking a toll on the mental health of Victorians,” Mr Brogden said.

“For someone who is already struggling, this can be a huge blow.”

But it’s not just Victorians putting up their hand for help.

Since March, Lifeline has received almost 90,000 calls a month, equating to a call every 30 seconds.

Lifeline also has a text service available every night for people who are unable to talk.

Lifeline 13 11 14

beyondblue 1300 22 4636

-AAP

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