Prime Minister Scott Morrison has held his latest press conference, this time addressing the mental health challenges faced by Australians suddenly plunged into coronavirus lockdown.
Joined by Christine Morgan, CEO of the National Mental Health Commission, the PM said he was well aware of the anxiety the pandemic was creating.
EXPLAINED:How Australia is edging closer to lifting restrictions
SUCCESS IS NOT JUST ERADICATING CORONAVIRUS
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said while low numbers of new COVID-19 cases is “welcome”, it doesn’t mark a success against the virus.
“We have had great success in flattening our curve, that is obvious,” Mr Morrison said.
“But having a low number of cases but having Australians out of work, having a low number of cases and children not receiving in classroom education, having a low number of cases and Australians not able to be going about their as normal lives as possible, that is not what success looks like.”
ALMOST 3 MILLION AUSSIES DOWNLOAD TRACKING APP
Approximately 2.8 million Australians have downloaded the COVIDSafe app, and has encouraged millions more to download it onto their phone.
Mr Morrison said downloading the app was the “ticket” for Australians to return to their lifestyles as they were prior to COVID-19.
“If you have downloaded the app, thank you very much. Convince two or three more people that haven’t downloaded the app to do the same thing,” Mr Morrison said.
BEYOND BLUE SEES 40 PER CENT SPIKE IN USE
Mental Health hotline Beyond Blue has seen a 40 per cent spike in use as Australians deal with the challenges associated with coronavirus restrictions.
Christine Morgan, National Suicide Prevention Adviser to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, said they have noted a feeling that many Australians don’t feel safe.
“What we are seeing with respect to those calls is an increase in the distress levels and an increase in the anxiety levels and in the complexity of what people are feeling,” Ms Morgan said.
SOME FAMILIES LIVING IN A ‘PRESSURE COOKER’
Confined spaces, high face time with loved ones and potential job losses may be creating a pressure cooker environment for Australians with mental health conditions.
“For those Australians who live on their own, who cannot have that tangible reality of a hug from a loved one, we cannot underestimate the mental health impact that is having,” Ms Morgan said.
OVERALL, USE OF MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES IS DOWN
While thousands of Australians are gravitating to mental health hotlines and telehealth services, overall use of mental health services is down as Australians self-isolate at home.
“I do this as a call out to all Australians, we did come into this scenario, we did come into COVID-19, with mental health challenges, many of us,” Ms Morgan said.
“We did come in with mental illness. You do still need to contact your mental health services.”
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL, GOING TO SPORTING GAMES OFF THE AGENDA
Scott Morrison has said it is unlikely that international travel or crowds at sporting games will be allowed “anytime soon”.
The PM said “the risks were obvious” and the only exception to the rule may be a deal with New Zealand that the government is working on.
“I look forward to the time where they can see, whether it is the AFL, the netball, the NRL, or whatever code they support, and being able to watch that again,” said Mr Morrison.
“But I can’t see them going along to a game for a while, those larger mass gatherings.”
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