An update on COVID-19 and our projects.
Over the past month we have seen Australians creatively adapting and connecting during this challenging time. It has been encouraging to watch the formation of new platforms, such as the recently launched free virtual peer support service eFriend, and Crisis Heroes which is an online community enabling support to be offered and received.
As I have touched on recently, while we are certainly seeing the benefits of rapidly adapting our healthcare system to make use of digital and phone supports, we know there are many Australians who are not being reached. It is more important than ever that we prioritise our mental health and continue to reach out to our friends, family, neighbours and colleagues, while also checking in with ourselves. Several dedicated services are available for those seeking support during COVID-19, including the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service, Telehealth measures and Head to Health.
For many people, the impact of COVID-19 is layered, following recent bushfires and floods. For those still recovering from the impact of the bushfires, I want to remind you that dedicated free bushfire support is still available and can be accessed through Services Australia on 180 22 66 or by visiting the National Bushfire Recovery Agency.
The Commission is currently supporting the Australian Government, in conjunction with states and territories, to develop a mental health response plan for COVID-19.
I encourage everyone to continue to stay connected, check in with one another and seek support when you need it.
If you, or anyone you know, is going through a tough time with COVID-19, support is available. The Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service 1800 512 348 is a free phone counselling service available 24/7. An online platform with forums and resources to connect to support is also available. For urgent support please contact Lifeline 13 11 14.
As part of the Australian Government’s mental health response to COVID-19, Independent Community Living Australia has launched eFriend, a free virtual peer support service that provides Australians with consistent non-clinical, peer-based mental health support during this challenging time and moving forward. You can access six one-on-one sessions with the same peer worker from the comfort of your home.
As we work and study from home, mental health and suicide prevention events, webinars and training opportunities have increasingly gone virtual. Life in Mind has a dedicated events page that brings together upcoming awareness, training and professional development opportunities in the one location for individuals and health professionals to access. This includes COVID-19 and bushfire related events.
If you would like to add your event, webinar, conference or training opportunity to this platform, visit the 'Life in Mind' website.
Schizophrenia Awareness Week 2020
For the first time ever, Schizophrenia Awareness Week has gone virtual with all forums, workshops and presentations moving online. Falling on 17 to 24 May 2020, the theme this year is "Stay Connected". When you're living with schizophrenia, and particularly during this unprecedented time, staying connected to friends and family, to your mental health support team and to your community links is really important. Stay connected this Schizophrenia Awareness Week through One Door Mental Health's Symposium including online events raising awareness about schizophrenia, promoting inclusion and providing a platform to connect while we are practicing physical distancing.
Many people are still recovering from the widespread bushfires, as well as feeling the impact of COVID-19. If you have been affected by the bushfires, support is available. For free immediate counselling you can contact Services Australia on 180 22 66, or speak with your GP.
For business, financial, housing and family recovery assistance and information visit the National Bushfire Recovery Agency.
Have you accessed mental health support or cared for someone who has? We want to hear from you. Consumers and carers are invited to complete our National Fifth Plan Consumer and Carer Surveys to inform our reporting and understanding of experiences in accessing mental health services. Your insights will help shape continuous improvements in care.
Surveys now close May 11.