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Beyond Blue has launched the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service to support all Aussies feeling the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their mental health and wellbeing.
The free service, funded by the government, is available around the clock, delivering clear, evidence-based information, advice and support specifically tailored to the mental health and wellbeing challenges raised by the pandemic.
Through a digital site, the service offers easy access to a broad range of supports from online wellbeing tips, self-help tools to phone counselling from trained mental health professionals and peer to peer support.
The issues it was designed to tackle include loneliness and self-isolation, managing your mental health if you have the virus, ways to deal with job loss and financial worries, supporting friends and family, coping as a healthcare worker, and support for essential service workers and small businesses.
“We anticipate growing demand for mental health support as this pandemic develops, both from people who are already managing mental health issues and those who have never struggled before,” said Beyond Blue chair Julia Gillard.
“We’ve built this service rapidly because we understand that all Australians need this support immediately and that now more than ever, prevention matters.
“Just as people are looking after their physical health, we’re asking people to actively look after their mental health.”
Beyond Blue chief executive Georgie Harman said the service would evolve to reflect the changing needs of the community.
“At Beyond Blue, we’ve seen a 30 per cent spike in contacts over the past two weeks and on some days, as many as one in three calls to our existing Support Service is about COVID-19,” Ms Harman said.
“People are telling us they’re feeling overwhelmed, worried, lonely, concerned about their physical health and the health of friends and loved ones, and anxious about money, job security and the economy.
“Right now, people are looking for simple, practical information that’s available, reliable and relevant to them.”
She explained that trained mental health professionals working behind the scenes of the new service are specifically briefed about the evolving public health advice and trained to link callers to other relevant services, such as those relating to financial aid, family violence support and official government COVID-19 information sources.
“At a time when the need for physical distance remains paramount, we’re using all forms of technology to support every Australian," Ms Harman concluded.