Having access to mental health services will be crucial in isolated regions during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why Member for Mildura Ali Cupper is welcoming a funding boost to the Victorian sector.

The Victorian Government this week announced a $59.4million package to help mental health services such as Lifeline and Beyond Blue deliver important services.

“It’s not surprising to hear Lifeline and Beyond Blue have had a spike in demand as the harsh restrictions were put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Ms Cupper said.

“Being isolated can naturally lead to higher stress levels and there’s also a lot of anxiety around loss of employment and business closures.

Beyond Blue is predicting a 30 percent increase in demand for its services by June due to the coronavirus so it’s crucial they have access to the funding they need.

“People in the Mildura electorate need to know they are going to be able to access support services when they might need them, which is why this additional funding is so important and welcomed.”

The Government has indicated that nearly $7million would be directed to help deliver phone and video services for people with severe mental illness, to prevent relapse and emergency department presentations.

Another $6.7million will be used to expand online and phone counselling through Beyond Blue, Lifeline, Kids Helpline and Suicide Line Victoria.

Funding for initiatives for veterans, seniors, new mums, Aboriginal people, multicultural and faith groups and the LGBTIQ community are also included.

People can also call the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Services hotline on 1800 512 348 or visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au to access information about support services and options.