‘It allows you to realise there’s something wrong’
The past year has been one like no other, with a pandemic and natural disasters stirring up people’s lives in unexpected ways, and now the annual stress of the holiday period is upon us.
“This extra level of base anxiety, it's tipped a lot of people over the edge,” Lifeline Northern Beaches CEO David Thomas tells North Shore Living.
North Sydney-based counsellor Kristy Singh agrees, however, as she points out, this also presents an opportunity.
“When things get amplified, because the external circumstances change, it allows you to realise there's something wrong and you need to get some help,” she explains.
“It is one of the bravest things you can do to reach out and say that you need help when you're feeling vulnerable, and there's so much help available.”
Lifeline Northern Beaches is one such service locals can reach out to.
“It's not just a phone number,” continues Mr Thomas, “we offer a suite of counselling services; financial counselling, focused clinical counselling, support groups, and training.”
Seeing a psychologist has also been made easier, with the Australian government increasing the number of appointments that can be subsidised through a mental health care plan, from ten to 20 per year.
Anyone can be assessed for a mental health care plan by their doctor.
Mr Thomas says that Lifeline offers cheaper and faster care, for those who can’t afford a psychologist or want a reduced wait time. Costs range from $10 to $30 and the wait time to see a counsellor is usually three to four days. Support groups, on the other hand, can be joined instantly.
“If someone really is down on their luck and can’t pay, we will waive the fee,” he says.
If you or someone you know is experiencing mental illness, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.