Last month, Lifeline recorded the busiest day in its 57-year history.
The Australia-wide crisis support service received more calls on Good Friday than ever before, and March will go down as their busiest month.
Rachel Bowes, Head of Crisis Services and Quality of Lifeline Australia, told Mamamia they are currently receiving a call every 30 seconds, with roughly 40 per cent of callers wanting to discuss coronavirus.
ReachOut, an online service for young people living with mental health issues, has identified the same trend. Upon releasing coronavirus-specific support in mid-March, visitation to their website increased by 50 per cent.
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Beyond Blue has reported an increase of nearly 60 per cent in calls, with more people than ever engaging with their online forums.
So, when Australians call support services, what are their primary concerns? What fears and anxieties are the most prevalent? And what do we do if someone we know isn’t coping?
“I have no one to talk to”
Lifeline told Mamamia there has been an increase in the number of people concerned about loneliness as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
Bowes said: “With 1 in 4 Australians being lonely or believing they have no one to talk to, loneliness is another big concern for many Australians. A sense of belonging is perhaps our greatest need, so when people feel they don’t belong or can’t connect with others, it is difficult for them to feel hopeful about the future.”
Loneliness was a significant problem for many Australians before coronavirus, but state-sanctioned social distancing has intensified feelings of isolation.
The subject of loneliness is prevalent on Beyond Blue’s online forums, with many saying they feel they have “no one to turn to”.
Lifeline Chairman John Brogden told ABC that for many Australians experiencing loneliness, “Lifeline is often the only person that some people speak to every day.”
“I’ve lost my job…”
Lifeline has seen a spike in Australians calling to discuss concerns around their finances.
Roughly one million Australians have lost their jobs as a result of coronavirus, a reality that we know has an enormous impact on an individual’s mental health.
According to Neil Bailey, a Research Fellow at Monash University, unemployment is associated with an increase in suicide, which Australia saw during the global financial crisis.
By analysing the latest figures, Bailey estimated that coronavirus-related unemployment would result in 2,761 additional deaths by suicide.
Dr Ewen McPhee, the President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, said that there has been significant “anxiety around people’s jobs and economic circumstances…” and highlighted that for those living in rural Australia, coronavirus follows drought, fire and flood.