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.
- 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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