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Lifeline on hand for increasing number battling COVID-19 restrictions

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With the NSW Government announcing a two-week extension to the Greater Sydney lockdown, Lifeline Hunter Central Coast is urging local people not to suffer in silence if the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are weighing on their mental health.

Regional manager Julie Wicks said Lifeline was here for everyone, 24/7.

“People are feeling more anxious, more isolated or lonely, or struggling with consequent business and job impacts,” she explained.

“Nationally, Lifeline is continuing to receive a 25% increase in calls since the surge in new COVID-19 cases began this July.”

And, the organisation expects to respond to more than one million requests for support this year.

“People on the Central Coast are having to negotiate extended lockdowns and altered school arrangements, while people in the Hunter have restrictions and are worried about the possible virus spread and border closures,” Ms Wicks said.

“In both regions, people are separated from families, and businesses in both regions have had reduced trade during what would have been a busy school holiday period.

“It is understandable to feel worried or overwhelmed; just having someone listen can make a big difference.

“Lifeline is here to listen and to offer hope via 13 11 14, text or online chat.”

Ms Wicks said free face-to-face and video counselling services were other ways Lifeline could help local people, from its centres at Islington, Belmont, Raymond Terrace, Singleton and Wyoming.

The latter provides video counselling only during the current Central Coast lockdown.

“Our qualified counsellors are there for anyone struggling with personal issues,” she added.

“The service is free, you don’t need a referral, and we have available appointments.”

Ms Wicks said everyone could help, by giving people they know who may be living alone or vulnerable a call or a message.

“We can all get through this if we are kind to one another and look out for each other,” she summed up.

“The increased demand for services highlights the outstanding work that Lifeline’s volunteer counsellors and telephone crisis support operators do every day.

“We are always looking to hear from people who wish to contribute to their community, and benefit, from becoming a Lifeline volunteer.” 

Lifeline service details

  • Telephone: 13 11 14 (24 hours)
  • Lifeline Text: 0477 13 11 14 (6pm – midnight)
  • Chat online: www.lifeline.org.au (7pm – midnight)
  • Counselling appointment bookings: 1300 152 854

For 24-hour crisis support, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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