The number of Victorians seeking mental health support grew by more than half during the last week of March, new call records from the HeadtoHelp support line show.
Despite there being no community transmissions, data from the last week of March saw HeadtoHelp’s service line record a 54% per cent increase in call volumes compared to the same week a month prior (1). This takes into consideration the looming changes to assistance packages for business and individuals affected by Victoria’s lockdowns in 2020.
Set up by Victoria’s six Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and funded by the Australian government, HeadtoHelp is a FREE service for all Victorians to find the best mental health support for their needs.
As well as a state-wide service intake number (1800 595 212), 15 new hubs across the state provide a free and confidential service for those who may be experiencing mental ill health, whether pre-existing or as a response to the impacts of COVID-19.
While the immediate impacts of rolling and ongoing lockdowns may seem to have passed for some, recent call volumes highlight that feelings of financial stress, anxiety and loneliness are still very prevalent in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Dr Elizabeth Deveny, CEO of South Eastern Melbourne PHN and spokesperson for HeadtoHelp said: “Mental ill health can affect anyone at any time. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant increased anxiety and uncertainty for many. Our call records of Victorians accessing the 1800 number during this time indicate many Victorians have been, and still are, dealing with pandemic-related stress - it’s important to remember you don’t have to deal with these situations alone.
“The 1800 595 212 number is staffed by experienced mental health professionals who will spend time with you to understand what you need. The team will work with you and connect you to the best local support. HeadtoHelp is free of charge and you do not need a Medicare card to call the 1800 number or visit one of our hubs.
“We urge anyone who may be feeling uncertain, anxious or stressed to reach out for support today.”
Since launching in September 2020, the HeadtoHelp service has recorded over 6,300 calls to the 1800 service line number, with almost 3,000 of these being received this year.
Former AFL player and public advocate for increasing conversations around mental health, Tom Boyd has urged people to reach out to HeadtoHelp: “As someone who knows first-hand the impacts of mental ill-health, I know just how important it is to reach out for support.” Tom said
“While 2020 is behind us, this year will bring its own set of struggles and the HeadtoHelp service is there to help you manage them.
“Whether it’s financial stress, feelings of loneliness and being separated from family still or just general feelings of anxiety, it’s okay if you’re still not feeling yourself. The mental health team at HeadtoHelp are here to help and I’d encourage anyone who may not be sure where to go for support, to reach out.”
Victorians looking for the best mental health support for their individual needs can call 1800 595 212 or visit headtohelp.org.au.
1. Call data from the statewide 1800 intake number compared from w/c 22/02/21 and w/c 22/03/21