pandemic and lockdowns cause increase in lifeline and Beyond Blue calls

The true impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and its associated lockdowns is beginning to show, with a concerning increase in the number of Australians seeking help via emergency psychological helplines.

According to deputy chief medical officer Michael Kidd, Lifeline and Beyond Blue have both reported a 30 per cent increase in calls compared to the time before the pandemic began.

“For those experiencing lockdowns, this is a time of disruption and frustration for many, and a time of isolation and fear for others,” Professor Kidd said.

“We need to be supporting each other and showing our love and our care to our family members and to our neighbours and our friends.”

In May 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) urged nations to “urgently increase investment” in services for mental health.

“The impact of the pandemic on people’s mental health is already extremely concerning,” said Director-General of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Social isolation, fear of contagion, and loss of family members is compounded by the distress caused by loss of income and often employment.”

Through the Covid-19 national health plan, an extra $74 million has been invested into Australia‘s mental health services over 2020-21.

But mental health struggles are still at an elevated level among Australians, with mental health-related prescriptions and calls to mental health support lines maintaining significantly higher numbers than pre-pandemic times according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Professor Kidd urged anyone struggling with their mental health to contact Lifeline, the Kids Helpline, or Beyond Blue.

“More Australians than ever before are reaching out for help and support,” he said.

“If you feel you may need help or assistance or you need someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to reach out.”

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