The coronavirus pandemic may be taking another invisible toll on Ballarat with the impact of heightened anxiety and residents forced to isolate.
Financial stress, disruption to normal routines and contacts, limited social interaction alongside health services under pressure are all factors having an affect on mental health that have some help channel experts concerned about the unseen impacts of the crisis.
Crisis support service Lifeline is experiencing an increase in calls during the coronavirus pandemic.
Lifeline Ballarat acting training coordinator Belinda Collihole said the current health and economic crisis was challenging and followed a devastating summer for many Australians.
"We know across Australia this summer we have faced some extraordinary challenges with bushfires, floods, drought," she said.
"Now going into COVID-19 we know a lot of people are experiencing different environments and being pushed outside of their normal routine and comfort zone.
"We have noticed there has been an increase in calls to the service."
Lifeline's crisis line 13 11 14 is continuing to operate 24 hours a day, with the text line open from 6pm to midnight and the web chat open from 7pm to midnight - all services are seven days a week.
If you need a confidential place to talk about your feelings and concerns, then Lifeline is the place for you to call.Belinda Collihole, Lifeline Ballarat
Ms Collihole said Lifeline was encouraging people to find new ways to stay connected to others while physical social interaction was restricted.
This can be achieved through social media, online community groups, or through more creative means like writing a letter, or watching television shows and movies together while in your own home.
Ms Collihole said keeping routine was important to maintain well-being.
"People's routines have been changed, so create new routines and new ways to work in this environment to help you keep motivated and focused," she said.
"Start to recognise and watch for signs of stress. We know that every Australian is feeling the impacts of COVID-19, so start to become aware of that."
Other tips to maintain good mental health include spending time outside in the backyard or on a walk and staying informed but limiting exposure to social media and news to prevent feeling overwhelmed.
It is suggested people experiencing financial stress work to put plans in place by contacting real estate agents and banks who can provide support.
Ms Collihole said it was important to reach out for help if anyone was feeling overwhelmed and to take time for self-care.
"Services including ours are still operational," she said.
"If you need a confidential place to talk about your feelings and concerns, then Lifeline is the place for you to call."
People who may have regular connections with other services are encouraged to contact them, as most services continue to operate on the phone.
Many psychologists and counsellors are offering their services via phone or video conferencing.
Lifeline Ballarat is one of 40 Lifeline centres across Australia.
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