Mental health and suicide prevention service Lifeline Australia has registered its highest volume of calls ever, as Australians around the country endure continuous disruptions to daily life through COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.
Staffed by volunteers, the 58-year-old organisation offers a 24-hour telephone crisis support service to help Australian’s cope with issues such as mental health, emotional issues, and potential suicide.
The organisation registered 3,345 calls on Aug. 2, the most in the history of the group.
Lifeline Australia Chairman John Brogden said one positive was that Australians were not “suffering in silence” and were reaching out for assistance.
“This has been a tough period for all Australians, and it has pushed many of those already struggling into crisis—but we’re glad they know help is out there,” he said in a statement.
“The fact that so many Australians are reaching out—many for the first time—and seeking help is a good thing.”
He expects demand for Lifeline’s services to remain high during the current period and beyond, noting that restrictions leave a “long tail of trauma.”
Brogden told Sky News Australia that there was a lot of grief, frustration, and anger.
When the data was released, Greater Sydney, as well as Brisbane and its surrounding regions, were both in lockdown, encapsulating over nine million residents.
As of Aug. 5, the state of Victoria was also plunged into a seven-day lockdown, placing a further six million people under restrictions.
In response to the ongoing lockdowns, Australians have taken to the streets in protest.
“Since the beginning of this crisis, Lifeline has been working hard to support Australians’ at risk of suicide and experiencing the mental health effects of the isolation and uncertainty of COVID-19,” Brogden said.
“We want everyone to know that Lifeline is always there for them, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said. “If you or someone you know are feeling overwhelmed, we encourage you to connect with Lifeline in the way.”
Some federal members of Parliament and economists have called for political leaders to change their messaging to Australians and convince them to learn to “live with the virus” saying the economic damage caused by restrictions, does not justify the mental and social harm.
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