A mental health disaster looms on Australia. Subsidise mental health therapy now

A mental health disaster looms on Australia. Subsidise mental health therapy now

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My name is Curtis. I’m 19 and I’m suffering from anxiety and depression. Right now, when I need it the most, I can’t afford mental health therapy because I am unable to get a job due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown. Up to one million Australians have already lost their jobs since the beginning of the pandemic. This number is only going to rise when the government is expected to withdraw Jobkeeper and coronavirus supplementary payments in September. I’m calling on the government for a long-term, holistic approach to support mental health during and post COVID-19 by subsidising more therapy sessions.

Suicide rates are already rising. There has been a giant spike in the use of online mental health services these past months. Australians are crying out for help. We need action now.

The federal government took swift and effective action in response to COVID-19 based on predictive modelling. Now it is time to follow expert advice on the potential loss of lives from suicide and mental ill-health following the economic crisis. We need more subsidised mental health sessions to help Australians cope with the pandemic.

The Federal Government’s initial expenditure on a pandemic mental health plan falls short of what is needed to prevent the massive mental health disaster that we will face over the next two years. We need more than crisis support helplines and ten subsidised mental health sessions. We need long-term one-on-one therapy to help us cope with the pandemic and its repercussions over the next few years.  

Modelling produced by leading experts suggest that COVID-19 crisis could lead to a 25% jump in suicide rate if unemployment reaches 11%. In fact, some experts fear suicides caused by the pandemic could overshadow deaths caused by the illness itself.

With parts of Victoria back in lockdown, businesses that were beginning to rebuild will plunge into economic slump again. We need to be prepared for the mental health crisis that has historically followed massive economic depressions and crises.

Please sign and share the petition for a more holistic COVID-19 mental health plan.