Experts are calling for people struggling with the mental aspects of the current pandemic to speak up and seek help as new data suggests one in seven Australians are reporting their mental health is poor.
Ballarat and District Suicide Prevention Network chairman Des Hudson said stress caused by everyday life pressures is being amplified by the pandemic.
"Clearly with everything that is happening with the pandemic and the associated life pressures that go along with that, it's understandable that there are more and more pressures on people," he said.
"People don't know how they're going to come out of this, so the concern goes far beyond the medical aspect alone.
"Mortgage stress, medical stress, employment, paying the bills, it all puts pressure on people's mental health... It's a very fine line in terms of trying to manage the pandemic and all the other things that people are struggling with."
This comes after the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released its Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, which revealed one in seven people surveyed (14 per cent) reported their mental health as fair or poor.
The survey also found one in five women (19 per cent) used a mental health or support service since March 2020 compared with one in ten men (10 per cent).
Mr Hudson said locally people need to continue looking out for their friends and family while encouraging anyone who is struggling with mental health issues to come forward and seek help.
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"We need to be mindful locally of that 'be kind' initiative we have been pushing since the beginning," he continued.
"It is as important as ever that we keep in touch with neighbours, with friends... we need to look after one another and make sure that we're okay.
"For people who are feeling affected by the pandemic mentally, whether it's going to their own GP, looking online or looking towards organisations like Beyond Blue or Headspace, taking the step to seek help is crucial.
"Just to be able to talk through the crisis that people are facing is so important... people need to know it's okay to not be okay.
"People don't have to be stone faced and people should never feel ashamed when seeking help, anyone who has come forward should be commended for their bravery."
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Support is available. You are never alone.
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au
- Suicide Callback Service: 1300 659 467
- Mensline: 1300 789 978 or mensline.org.au
- Survivors of Suicide: 0449 913 535
- Relationships Australia: 1800 050 321
- headspace Ballarat (for 12-25s and parent support): 5304 4777
- Soldier On: 1300 620 380
- Ballarat Community Health: 5338 4500
- QLife: 1800 184 527 (Support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people)
- Family violence: 1800 RESPECTVeterans support: If you or someone you know needs support call Open Arms on 1800 011 046 - 24 hours a day, seven days a week or visit www.openarms.gov.au
- For Aboriginal crisis support: Yarning SafeNStrong, 1800 959 563 (noon to 10pm)