darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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Local MP Darren Chester is urging all Gippslanders to look after themselves and seek help if they need it.

Mr Chester said new restrictions on day-to-day life designed to save lives and curb the spread of the coronavirus could leave Gippslanders feeling isolated.

“This coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented and it can take a toll on our mental health, creating feelings of uncertainty, isolation and anxiety,” Mr Chester said.

“If you are struggling, you must reach out, whether that be reaching out to family and friends or contacting a support service.

“The Federal Government is committed to supporting those struggling with their mental health and is boosting services during this health crisis.”

The Federal Government has announced an additional $1.1 billion for mental health, Medicare and domestic violence support.
A total of $74 million towards mental health support services. This includes:
• $10 million for a dedicated coronavirus well-being support line run by Beyond Blue
• $14 million to boost the capacity of mental health support providers, including $5 million for Lifeline and $2 million for Kids Helpline
• Dedicated support for frontline healthcare workers through digital platforms
• $10 million towards the Community Visitor Scheme to train volunteer visitors to connect online and by telephone with isolated Australians, and
• $6.75 million to deliver Headspace digital work and study services and eHeadspace.

Mr Chester said the funding would allow organisations such as Lifeline, Kids Helpline and Beyond Blue to better manage the higher demand on their services.

“Our healthcare workers are also facing a period of intense stress and difficult circumstances, so it is vital we support them through digital platforms so they can look after themselves and seek help if they need it.”

“More volunteers will be trained with extra funding for the Community Visitors Scheme so more volunteers can talk to isolated members of our community.

“While we isolating and distancing ourselves from friends and family, it’s important to connect in new ways. Fortunately, we live in a time where technology has amazing capabilities to enable us to maintain those relationships.

“If it’s possible, I encourage everyone to stay in touch with each other, whether it’s with a daily catch up, celebrating a birthday or studying together online. Keeping in touch is vital for our mental well-being.

“Gippslanders must do all we can to look after ourselves and those immediately around us.

“We are a strong and resilient bunch and we will get through this.”

For those looking for further information and resources, visit www.headtohealth.gov.au
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
Headspace: 1800 650 890

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