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R U OK? Resources to help you cope during COVID-19

RUOK

In these unprecedented times, it’s not surprising that many of us are grappling with our mental health.

“This period of social distancing is actually very tricky,” says Professor Vijaya Manicavasagar, a clinical psychologist and researcher at the Black Dog Institute. “The problem is that we’re herd animals. It’s quite scary to feel like you don’t have a place in the world or a place in your social group.”

This year’s RUOK? Day on September 10 is a great opportunity to reach out to the people close to you and find out how they’re coping with life during the pandemic.

But you don’t need a special day to reach out to those around you. If you, a friend, colleague or family member is struggling with mental-health issues, there are resources you can take advantage of right now.

 

National resources

  • Beyond Blue: This not-for-profit organisation provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health. Beyond Blue runs a 24/7 telephone hotline and also offers online chat and email support.
  • Lifeline: A registered charity that provides crisis support via a 24/7 phone service. Lifeline also offers support via SMS and web chat each evening. Its website contains help pages for a range of real-life issues and mental-health conditions.  
  • Black Dog Institute: A mental-health research institution affiliated with the University of NSW that offers a range of online resources. These include tests that can help determine whether you would benefit from seeking further assistance.
  • GROW: A charitable organisation that runs in-person and online groups to help people suffering from anxiety, depression and other mental-health conditions. 
     

    Selected state-by-state resources
  • Australian Capital Territory: Access Mental Health, also referred to as the Mental Health Crisis Service, is a free telephone intake, referral and information service that operates 24/7 and is a first point of contact for all ACT residents.
  • New South Wales: The Sydney-based Way Ahead Mental Health Association has a phone line and online directory that puts people in touch with medical help and other services relevant to their mental-health needs.
  • Northern Territory: Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia (NT) is an online hub and toll-free phone number connecting Territorians – including carers of those with a mental illness – with support groups, accommodation, medical providers and workshops.  
  • Queensland: 1300 MH CALL is a confidential mental-health telephone triage service that provides the first point of contact to public mental-health services to Queenslanders. 1300 MH CALL is available 24/7 and will link to the caller’s nearest Queensland Public Mental Health service.
  • South Australia: Skylight offers up-to-date information, mental-health support and NDIS services for those experiencing mental illness, family members and friends who care for them, and community and corporate organisations.
  • Tasmania: The 24/7 Mental Health Service Helpline is a central point of entry to Tasmanian mental-health services. It is staffed by community mental-health clinicians, who can assess your information and determine the most appropriate action.
  • Victoria: Tandem is the Victorian peak body representing organisations that advocate for family and friends of people living with mental illness. It operates a Support and Referral phone service both for individuals with mental-health needs and their families and friends.
  • Western Australia: HelpingMinds offers free support to the family and friends of people living with mental-health challenges across WA. While HelpingMinds doesn’t operate a phone counselling service, it does provide counselling to carers by appointment and organises regular support groups.
     
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