Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch, has urged residents to support others in the community, particularly the aged, as increased isolation due to the coronavirus threatens the mental health of many.
Tesch said that she was conducting her own outreach service, with members of a team of volunteers making regular calls to residents aged over 65 to check on their wellbeing.
“Recipients are very grateful for that unexpected contact,” she said.
“Physical isolation is important during this time, but that does not mean you have to be alone.”
Tesch said the outbreak of COVID-19 had put added pressure on individuals and families across the country still reeling from recent environmental tragedies over the summer.
“Uncertainty and ongoing media coverage have increased worry, anxiety, and fear, while enforced social distancing has separated the community, including putting space between those we love,” she said.
“It is vital that we support each other as communities transition to a more isolated way of living to combat the spread of COVID-19.
“Individuals and families across the Coast are reaching out for mental health support as they make huge adjustments.
“The challenge in making any single change is significant, and yet we have home schooling, job loss, financial stress, business restructuring, working from home, not enough toilet paper, and so much more all happening at once.
“It has brought families together in ways that we haven’t seen in a generation, and that in itself can be stressful, as we all adapt to living so closely and so long under one roof.
“I encourage everyone to look for the positives, stay in contact with friends, and reach out to those you know may be isolated.
“Some schools in the UK are offering compulsory ‘virtual exercise’, and that might be something groups of parents could organise using social media.
“We have so many tools around us in this modern world, and it is about adapting those to try and reduce the burden of the current situation and look to what’s next.”
Tesch said she welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of $74M in funding to support the mental health and well-being of the community, including $10M to Beyond Blue, to create and deliver a dedicated coronavirus well-being support line, and $14M to improve the capacity of mental health support providers who have experienced an unprecedented surge in call volumes.
If you are in need of mental health support you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.
Source: Media release, Mar 31, 2020 Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch