The Australian government is pleading with citizens to refrain from neglecting their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, as services have seen a decrease, despite the increase in anxiety over the virus.
As people struggle with an uncertain world, bombarded by bad news every day, as well as job loss, and general worry around the novel coronavirus, one of the effects is an increase in mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
While BeyondBlue services has seen an increase by 40%, compared to 2019, National Mental Health Commission’s chief executive Christine Morgan notes that the overall contact to mental health professionals has decreased.
She stated that she believes those who normally use mental health support services are not reaching out to do so at this point in time. Morgan is aware of the mental health strain on individuals, as well as the loneliness as a result of self-isolation – especially for those in Australia who live on their own right now. Morgan went on to say that the country should not underestimate the mental health impact that is unfolding during this pandemic.
On a good note, Morgan noted that the state and federal governments of the country are preparing a response plan to mental health, moving forward.
Prime Minster of Australia, Scott Morrison, has allocated $74 million towards mental health services strained during the COVID-19 pandemic. He stated that 50% of mental health consultations are currently happening via the country’s Telehealth platform, with over one million occurring since these mental health platforms began offering their services in March.
With that said, Morgan stated that individuals were not reaching out for help as much. She added that staying home can feel like a “pressure cooker”, even if people are together with loved ones. She encourages people to go through Telehealth or via digital services if they require support.
Australia is not alone when it comes to feeling the mental health burden of quarantine, as many mental health organizations are reporting a tremendous increase when it comes to demand for support services, and other countries are sure to feel the effects that COVID-19 have on mental health. Not only are people dealing with self-isolation, but the stress that comes with an unknown future, bills piling up, and unemployment.
Which ultimately begs the question around lockdown measures, and the aftereffects they will have on the global economy, as well as the mental state of citizens worldwide.