South West Healthcare has opened a non-judgemental mental and emotional support hotline for people needing assistance during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mental Health Services team manager Nicholas Place said the initiative came about as a perceived community need.
"This gives people the opportunity to speak with a professional in their local community who has local knowledge of services," he said.
"We value the national hotlines but some of them may not be aware of our local material aids and services people can access for support.
At the best of times people don't know how to navigate the system and COVID-19 has compounded thisNicholas Place
"While the hotline may not resolve this issue, it can put people in contact with local services."
The hotline opened on Monday and South West Healthcare's mental health and social work team will be receiving calls between 1- 5pm Monday to Friday.
The team expects as time goes on, the hotline will become busier.
"There's an anticipation that as more awareness builds, we will be more in demand," Mr Place said.
"I think depending on restrictions and if there are community transmissions, we may see a significant need for the service.
"We're likely to see the number of people seeing their GPs increase and talking about their experiences. As unemployment numbers increase, people will be able to access more services and utilise existing community services.
"If someone calls outside of hours, they will hear options for a range of different concerns and be transferred to other manned services.
"We'll be repeating our messages about where people should seek help."
For anyone needing support, contact the hotline on 1800 965 144.
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