Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

coronavirus, mental health, federal government, covid-19, psychologists, pandemic, lockdown

Canberrans will have access to a new mental health service on Monday when the territory comes out of its grueling lockdown. Psychologists have warned of a mental health crisis Australia is facing – called the ‘shadow pandemic’ – after COVID -19 threw millions into isolation, destroyed businesses and restricted social interaction. And after ACT left its longest and hardest lockdown, a $ 1 million pop-up mental health clinic in ACT opens its doors on Monday under the federal government’s Head to Health program. If you imitate similar models established in NSW and Victoria, patients will be assessed and receive support via video and telephone. Socially distant face-to-face services will also be available if recommended by a clinician from November 1st. The clinic operates until June next year. MORE COVID-19 NEWS: ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja warned that Canberrans would continue to face mental health challenges as the territory emerged from its nine-week lockdown. “These are extraordinary times, and the Morrison Government very quickly recognized that the mental health burden of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country and here in the ACT was of great concern,” he said. Senator Seselja had previously beaten the ACT government to extend the territory’s lockdown, a decision he said lacked “compassion and balance”. Residents will be able to call a dedicated number – 1800 595 212 – to speak to a psychologist who will refer them to the most appropriate support. It will include psychologists, psychiatric nurses, social workers and other mental health professionals. Health Secretary Greg Hunt said the facility would provide an extra layer of support for GPs and hospitals that were overloaded with mental health admissions during the pandemic. “Mental health is an important part of Australia’s pandemic response and the current restrictions across the country have taken a toll on Australians’ mental health and well-being, including those in the ACT,” he said. Data from the Australian National University in September showed that young adults had given birth to the largest mental toll from COVID-19, with 71 per cent of parents aged 15 to 18 reporting that their child’s mental health had deteriorated during the pandemic. The Australian Association of Psychologists warned that the country’s mental health system was “crying out” for extra support, with demand doubling under COVID-19. Similar pop-up clinics were set up in Victoria following the state’s extended lockdown in 2020, while 10 were opened in NSW in September. Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this outbreak of COVID-19 in ACT and lockdown is free for all to access. However, we rely on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you can, you can subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our regular newsletter. Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how to continue accessing our trusted content:

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