Uniting Communities is proud to deliver a new telephone and video support line launched on Tuesday for people struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An initiative of the State Government, the SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line provides phone and online video counselling support to people dealing with increased anxiety and mental health challenges during this difficult time. It operates each day from 8am to 8pm.

“We’re hearing a lot of information about how we can protect our physical health and wellbeing at the moment,” said Service Manager, Bryan Atherton. “Mental health is critical too – this service offers a valuable opportunity to make sure we’re also supporting those in our community with mental health concerns.”

Funded by the State Government, the 1800 telephone service provides dedicated counsellors to answer calls and provide call-backs to people feeling distressed by the current situation, by social isolation or by the lengthy periods they are spending in quarantine.

The support line brings together the skills and experience of mental health and counselling staff at Uniting Communities.

“We’re fortunate to have a team of people with existing expertise in supporting people who are going through challenging times,” said Mr Atherton. “So far, 15 team members have been deployed to help with this initiative, applying their specialist knowledge and wealth of professional experience.”

As well as responding to calls, the support line includes an outreach-style service to connect with some of the most vulnerable in our community, with a focus on early intervention to minimise harm and provide an extra level of support for their mental wellbeing.

South Australia’s Chief Psychiatrist, Dr John Brayley, said early intervention is key.

“We know that if mental health concerns are identified in a timely manner, the severity and duration of the illness can be reduced,” Dr Brayley said.

“The support line will be able to make contact with people at risk of developing mental illness, as well as reach out to people who are doing the right thing by staying in isolation but may not be coping as well as they could be.”

The service can be reached on 1800 632 753, with further details available at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVID2019.

The support line complements the range of mental health supports offered through Uniting Communities, many of which are continuing to operate via phone-based services during this time.

For media comment
Bryan Atherton
Service Manager, SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line
0400 013 240