Living under lockdown conditions and the uncertainties that come with the global pandemic can be trying for the mind and body.
With Lifeline responding to 3,505 calls yesterday (19 August), making it a record number in its 52-year history, the need to look after our mental health has never been clearer.
The psychological effect of the bushfires, paired with the ongoing repercussions of COVID-19, have been hard on many of us for different reasons and it is important to know about the services around us.
But it can be overwhelming to sort through the many services out there and which is best suited to you.
With this article, we attempt to simply the process.
Our list includes services available on the South Coast and the larger, non-local based services you can access over the phone or online.
When unsure where to go, a good first step to consult with a General Practitioner, who can organise a Mental Health Treatment Plan tailored to you.
They will prepare a strategy in consultation with you and refer you to an allied health professional.
Under the plan, you will be entitled to Medicare rebates for up to 20 individual psychological appointments per calendar year until June 30, 2022.
Shoalhaven SPAN is a health promotion charity that is made up of volunteers from a variety of settings, including mental health services, educators, emergency services, business, as well as community members with lived experience.
Please note, SPAN is not a crisis response service. Instead, they promote access to appropriate preventative services and offer after suicide support services.
SPAN members are volunteers who use their knowledge and experience to help reduce and raise awareness around suicide.
Headspace offers Mental Health, Alcohol and other Drugs, Sexual and Physical health and Vocational support services to youth as well as support to their family and friends.
The organisation also offers a telehealth service for people living and working in regional and remote areas of Australia that struggle to access a psychiatrist.
Headspace Telehealth includes video consultations with qualified psychiatrists, to find out more about it, visit their website at: headspace.org.au/our-services/telehealth/
The Nowra office is located at 51 North St, Nowra and can be contacted at (02) 4446 7300.
To find out more on the range of services Headspace provides overall, visit their website at: headspace.org.a
One Door Mental Health
One Door Mental Health is a leading mental health service provider that specialises in severe and persistent mental illnesses.
These include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, schizoaffective disorder, borderline personality disorder.
Like the SPAN team, One Door Mental Health's team is made up of members that have lived experience, which helps them in turn, offer better expertise in mental health.
Through One Door, people living with mental illness and their families can find an inclusive community, innovative services and advocacy support.
The Nowra office is located at 23-33 West Street, Nowra with their opening hours on their website.
Alternatively you can call 0408 368 538.
To find out more on the specific services they offer or more information overall, visit their website at: onedoor.org.au or call: 1800 843 539.
South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation is a Non-Government, Not For Profit providing health services relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout the Shoalhaven.
SCMSAC have a mental health worker and psychologists with no cost involved, however, for clients wanting to see the psychologist, they should talk to their GP about Medicare items that may be required.
Appointments are available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm and the contact number is (02) 4448 0200.
The office is located 51-53 Berry St, Nowra.
The CMWSS is designed to support people through the pandemic by offering trained counsellors that are available all hours of the day and night.
It is a free service that offers tips and strategies for self-guided support, referrals, information and support from counsellors briefed on the pandemic response.
You can reach out either via phone: 1800 512 348 or find out more on their website: coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/
Lifeline crisis support
Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing emotional distress with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Lifeline has found that every 30 seconds a person in Australia is reaching out to Lifeline for help.
To reach out to Lifeline either contact via phone: 13 11 14 or access their website at :lifeline.org.au/
Royal Far West - video counselling services for children under 15 years old and their families
Royal Far West offers health, education and disability services.
The organisation works closely with families, schools, allied health professionals and local communities to connect rural and remote Australian children with the healthcare they need.
To find out more about the services they offer visit their website: royalfarwest.org.au/ or phone: 02 8966 8500
Kids Helpline has been around for 30 years and offers free confidential online and phone counselling service, 24 hours a day, for youth aged 5 to 25.
The helpline has qualified counsellors that are available via WebChat, phone or email.
To find out more about the service visit www.kidshelpline.com.au or call 1800 551 800.
Suicide Call Back Service
Suicide Call Back Service is a nationwide service providing 24/7 telephone and online counselling to people affected by suicide.
Suicide Call Back Service provides phone and online counselling for anyone struggling with their mental health including anxiety, depression, feeling low, stressed or having suicidal thoughts.
Their COVID-19 page online provides many useful tips on working from home and other COVID-related issues, you can read about it at: suicidecallbackservice.org.au/mental-health/?category=covid-19 otherwise call 1300 659 467.
MensLine Australia is a telephone and online counselling service offering support for Australian men anywhere, anytime.
They offer help with topics such as addiction, anxiety, separation and divorce as well as dealing with stress.
To find out more visit: https://mensline.org.au or call 1300 789 978
SANE Australia is a national mental health charity that supports people affected by complex mental health issues through support services, research and advocacy.
Sane provides counselling support, peer support, information and stories for people to connect with, blog and writing spaces for people to express themselves and more.
To find out more on what they offer visit their webpage at: sane.org/about-sane or call 1800 18 7263.
On the occasion the service a person has contacted isn't suited to them, most services will help direct them to other support services that are better suited to their needs.
If you or someone else around you is in urgent need of care, don't wait, call Triple-0 (000) for emergencies.
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Grace is a reporter for the South Coast Register.
Grace is a reporter for the South Coast Register.
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