Lockdowns in Aussie cause spike in suicide prevention calls

Calls to Lifeline Australia, the national suicide prevention service, have been on the rise, but with the latest lockdown, the situation just got worse.

Rob Prugue, founder and director at PROP, People Reaching Out to People, a mental health education organisation, says that calls to Lifeline and Beyond Blue are a good barometer of the mental health of the nation at a particular point of time.

He says: “One of the few positives to come out of covid is that there seems to be a heightened awareness of the importance of mental health issues, but more needs to be done.

“Lifeline tells us that calls to its 24-hour service jumped 25% in the first two weeks of Sydney’s five-week lockdown, and even greater in Melbourne’s fifth hard lockdown.

“A recent survey by Australian Bureau of Statistics showed how during the Melbourne lockdown, almost a third of those participating reported feelings associated with depression and anxiety, compared to 18% for the rest of Australia.

“Lockdowns impede the everyday face-to-face interactions which can help us when we are down. We know from the many surveys conducted in the past 12 months that most employees would seek to spend some regular time in the office, albeit just 2-3 days a week. This demonstrates the importance of personal interactions. After all, we’re all social animals, and lockdowns can sadly have ancillary affect on our mental wellbeing.

“PROP has recently launched an updated series of educational videos, including real-life cases of how people have dealt with their problems, and materials to help people in their discussions.”

To register for the tutorials or contact us for other assistance, see www.prop.org.au