Hundreds of Coast residents suffering anxiety and depression due to COVID-19 social restrictions are set to benefit from a $10M boost to Beyond Blue for a Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service, set to be delivered by the Federal Government during this financial year and the next.
Member for Robertson Lucy Wicks said looking after mental health as the pandemic unfolds is just as important as protecting physical health.
“While it is normal to feel worried, it’s important to know that if you are struggling, support is available,” Wicks said.
“After speaking with hundreds of residents across the Central Coast, I am aware that there is a sense of anxiety about the coronavirus.
“This announcement is a recognition that it is okay and important to reach out for support and assistance, especially during such a challenging period.
“As the government monitors the spread of COVID-19 infection in order to continue to flatten the curve, we are also closely monitoring the usage of mental health services so we can respond quickly and lessen the impacts of the pandemic as part of the recovery phase.”
Wicks said the announcement builds on $74M already committed towards mental health services.
Beyond Blue’s existing support service has seen a 30 per cent increase in requests for help since the pandemic was declared.
The new service will assist people who are experiencing financial stress, family stress, anxiety and loneliness caused by the virus.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has also announced the appointment of a Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Mental Health, Professor Dr Ruth Vine, to assist in the ongoing management of the psychological impacts the coronavirus has caused.
The support service can be accessed through the website coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au.
It provides: digital tools and apps to help people manage their own mental health and wellbeing; a phone line staffed by mental health professionals; referrals to other services and information, including financial support; easy links to Beyond Blue’s online peer support forums’ and links to emergency and crisis services.
Media release, May 15
Member for Robertson Lucy Wicks