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The Informer: Australia pushed to breaking point, Lifeline stats reveal

Australia pushed to breaking point

We all know disappointment - personally, professionally and, for the want of a better word, "COVIDly".

Ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns continue to impact as one single, startling statistic released today reveals.

On Monday, Lifeline recorded the highest daily number of calls in the organisation's history - 3345. That's about 140 calls an hour. Every hour. For 24 hours.

Suicide Prevention Australia, CEO, Nieves Murray, who is particularly mindful of increased pressures on young people, managed to find a positive.

"Fortunately, while there has been a rise in the use of mental health services and an increase in psychological distress there hasn't been a rise in deaths by suicide," Ms Murray said. "I strongly encourage young people to take a proactive approach when it comes to their mental health and to seek support if they need it.

Help is now more than calling a support line or meeting with a counsellor. There are now texting services, downloadable resources and online community forums.

Among those youth-focussed support services, Ms Murray said, are headspace, ReachOut, Kids Helpline and Batyr.

Of course the Suicide Prevention Australia boss has welcomed the extra funding from all levels of government but that comes with this qualifier: "We know that half of those whose lives are lost to suicide are not in contact with mental health services, so we need to make sure all people in lockdown have access to financial and social supports during these tough times."

And as difficult as physical distancing may make 2021, Ms Murray believes we humans can conquer the challenges it presents.

"Physical distancing does not mean emotional and social distancing - it is important for ourselves, our loved ones and our communities to remain emotionally and socially connected," said Ms Murray.

To get help 24/7, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, phone 000 for emergency services.

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This story Australia pushed to breaking point first appeared on The Canberra Times.