Seek support for mental health

The Goulburn Mental Health Steering Committee is encouraging people to seek support for their mental health through support services in their areas.

Services continue to offer mental health services, with physical distancing restrictions in place or via telehealth.

All people can seek help through general practicioners who are often the first step to accessing mental health services.

People are encouraged to reach out to their local health and community services or their council to find out more about the range of mental health supports for different levels of need.

Goulburn Mental Health Steering Committee chairwoman Rebecca Southurst, also executive officer at Lower Hume Primary Care Partnership, said the major concerns centred on people being socially isolated due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Social isolation, particularly by people not connected in with technology and/or cannot volunteer anymore, unemployment and financial stress and uncertainty about the future is a concern,” she said.

“As is the potential increase in family violence due to isolation and victims not being able to access help.

“Our main message is to look out for family and friends and if anyone is in immediate danger call 000 or call Safe Steps 1800 015 188, which has 24-hour access to support.

“There is increased support for people escaping family violence at this time through housing and financial support.”

Ms Southurst said the committee meets monthly to work together to improve access, visibility and integration of mental health services across Mitchell and Murrindindi shires.

“We have representation on the committee from a variety of service providers across the sector to provide a wide range of perspectives and ability to influence the way services are provided,” she said.

“The committee has a strategic plan and works together towards the vision that people living within the Goulburn area are supported to build resilience and maintain good mental health.

“When they need further support for their mental health, programs and services are visible, accessible, integrated and of the highest quality to assist them to proactively manage their mental illness and return to living fulfilling lives.

“Practically, this has included developing shared communication resources for the community, mapping and sharing mental health services, developing a submission into the state Royal Commission into Mental Health to share the needs and experiences of communities across Lower Hume.

Ms Southurst said making sure people know that services were still avaialble throughout COVID-19 was integral, and she encouraged people to reach out for support for their mental health and continue a healthy lifestyle to keep well.

* For help in a crisis, call 000 or Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Mitchell Shire residents can call Mitchell Shire Council on 5734 6200 to be redirected to the appropriate service.