A NEW telehealth mental health service launched today aims to help south-west residents struggling with mental ill health through the pandemic.
Set up by Western Victoria Primary Health Network, the HeadtoHelp service will put people in touch with mental health professionals to discuss their needs and concerns.
They will then be directed to local mental health services that meet their individual situation.
The telehealth service has been launched by WVPHN and other five primary health networks in Victoria following $26.9 million in federal funding.
WVPHN chief executive Rowena Clift said HeadtoHelp support would be available to anyone in the community with or without a GP mental health treatment plan.
"Mental health issues don't discriminate. Many people in the south-west may have never experienced mental ill-health before and are facing new challenges due to COVID-19," Ms Clift said.
"We've quickly mobilised to set up the new 1800 phone number so people throughout our region can access a new telehealth service which will work alongside existing state and federally funded mental health support services.
"HeadtoHelp is designed to offer a seamless service for guiding people in mental distress or feel they are unable to cope with the extra pressures brought on by the pandemic to the right support."
Other local mental health support services include headspace Warrnambool, headspace Portland and the Well Connected psychosocial support program.
HeadtoHelp also includes the establishment of an initial 15 mental health response clinical hubs in Victoria, located within existing health facilities. It is proposed this model of mental health support will be then replicated in other locations.
To access HeadtoHelp, call 1800 595 212.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can call Lifeline Australia (13 11 14), Beyond Blue (1800 512 348), or Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800).
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