More than a million Australians have sought mental health treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, new data shows. Source: The Australian.
In Victoria, ongoing lockdowns have sparked a social crisis, with a 30 per cent rise in cases in the past four weeks.
The first official data revealing the depth of the mental health disaster in Victoria since the second wave outbreak reveals access to some crisis services has risen by up to 67 per cent in the space of four weeks.
Demand for children’s mental health has also skyrocketed in Victoria, with access to services jumping more than 30 per cent since September.
The spike is more than double that of the most populous state, NSW, and comes as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews concedes that the infection targets in his roadmap to recovery may have to be revised to allow a more rapid easing of restrictions.
Commonwealth health department figures reveal that in September and October, 350,884 Victorians sought access to Medicare-funded GPs, psychiatrists, psychologists and counselling treatments. This was a 31 per cent increase on the same period last year and three times higher than the national average. A federal health official said the “jurisdictional” difference in relation to Victoria was “stark”.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the data was of significant concern. He said nationally, since March 16, there had been a 15 per cent increase in the number of Medicare-subsidised mental health services delivered, with 7.4 million services provided and $819m paid in benefits.
Mr Hunt said the Government’s $2.4 billon telehealth package was making it easier for those suffering anxiety or depression to seek help.
Mental health crisis: One million ‘lost’ in coronavirus lockdown (By Simon Benson, The Australian)