With the NSW Government announcing an extension to the Greater Sydney and Central Coast lockdown until at least 30 July, Lifeline Hunter Central Coast is urging local people not to suffer in silence if the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are weighing on their mental health.
Regional General Manager, Julie Wicks said Lifeline is available and here for anyone, 24/7.
Julie said extended lockdowns and restrictions are understandably having an impact on businesses and on staff.
She said people are feeling more anxious, more isolated, and are struggling with consequent business and job impacts.
Nationally, Lifeline is continuing to receive a 25 per cent increase in calls since the surge in new COVID-19 cases began this July. It expects to respond to more than one million requests for support this year.
“While not in lockdown, people in the Hunter have restrictions, are back working from home, and are worried about the possible virus spread and border closures,” Julie said.
“People are separated from families, and businesses have had reduced trade during what would have been a busy school holiday period.
“It is understandable to feel worried or overwhelmed; just having someone listen can make a big difference.”
Julie said free face to face and video counselling services are another way Lifeline can help local business owners or their staff. It offers face to face counselling from centres at Islington, Belmont, Raymond Terrace, and Singleton.
“Our qualified counsellors are there for anyone struggling with personal issues. The service is free, you don’t need a referral, and we have available appointment,” Julie said.
She said the pandemic has thrown a spotlight on the need for businesses to invest in creating mentally healthy and resilient workplaces. She said Lifeline offers online, classroom, and on-site training and workshops.
“Training in self-care and in having the skills to identify and help someone in crisis, or approaching crisis point, makes for a mentally healthier and more productive workplace.”
“We can all get through this if we are kind to each other and look out for each other.
She also said the increased demand for services highlights the outstanding work that Lifeline’s volunteer counsellors and telephone crisis support operators do every day.
“We are always looking to hear from people who wish to contribute to their community and benefit personally from becoming a Lifeline volunteer,” Julie concluded.
IMAGE | Online counselling is being encouraged by Lifeline as COVID-19 restrictions extend.
Lifeline was founded by the Reverend Alan Walker at Methodist Central Mission in Sydney in 1963. Since then, Lifeline services have been established around Australia and in many parts of the world.
Lifeline Newcastle & Hunter began in 1966 when Reverend John Chegwidden was awakened by a distressed telephone call from a man wanting to know if there was a Lifeline service operating in the region.
Over the years, Lifeline Newcastle & Hunter has expanded its operations from the traditional telephone crisis support service to include a range of services to relieve the stress and pain of the people of Newcastle & Hunter.