The Chairman Of Lifeline Just Gave Some Valuable Mental Health Tips For Surviving Lockdown

lifeline lockdown mental health advice

Today’s NSW COVID press conference special guest, Chairman of Lifeline Australia, John Brogden, has given some reassuring tips for people who are struggling with depression, anxiety, or suicide in lockdown.

Brogden, who admitted that he has depression and suicide ideation, said that he knows what it’s like to live with mental illness and what it’s like to live with one during COVID.

“In recent weeks, we’ve heard a lot of people talk about a shadow pandemic in mental health,” he said.

“I think it’s important to realise it’s not in the shadows, it’s real and it is a crisis. The crisis is extending to all parts of Australia, all parts of NSW, and to many, many people.

“What we have seen is a significant increase among children and adolescence in their mental health illness, in their suicidality, and in stress and depression and anxiety.”

The Lifeline Australia chairman said that there were four things people suffering from a mental illness during lockdown need to remember. They are:

  • Sticking to a routine. That means not staying in bed all day, getting up and getting changed regularly.
  • Exercising. This doesn’t have to be 100 pushups, it can just be a walk around the block or to a local park. As long as you can get some sun, wind or rain on your face.
  • Trying not to catastrophise things. “Things will get worse before they get better BUT they will get better, hang onto the hope we will get there,” he said.
  • Reach out when you need to and not suffer in silence. Don’t think that people don’t care or that you can’t reach out. Lifeline are ready and willing to take your calls. If you don’t feel like speaking to someone on the phone, you can chat to one of their mental health professionals via their text message service (0477131114).

Lifeline has seen an 11% increase in calls in NSW year-on-year. Compared to two years ago, there’s been a 28% increase to calls in Lifeline.

People are on calls for longer which Brogden says demonstrates a higher level of distress and concern. In NSW, Lifeline Australia is reportedly seeing 1000 calls a day—two years ago that was around 700.

That may sound bad in theory but there’s actually a silver lining to it. It shows that more people are reaching out now more than ever.

“Last year in NSW, there was a 5% reduction in suicide, and bear in mind, nine months of that year were in the first COVID lockdown. In this year, Lifeline Australia has seen no increase in suicides on average across all age groups.”

“[When someone calls Lifeline,] our objective is to get them through that incredibly difficult period and get them the services they need.

“The good news is we have these extraordinary Lifeline volunteers who just keep putting in more hours. We’re always open to more volunteers and people can volunteer on

“It’s tough and people are having it tough but there is some hope. We are coming hopefully to the end of the lockdown and one of the best things we can do for people is get out of lockdown as quickly as possible.”

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard added: “We do know that this period of lockdown, this period of COVID, has brought additional stresses on us all.

“There’s no one I know who has escaped that stress and some of us respond in different ways to that kind of stress. Lifeline can offer you assistance.”

If you need mental health support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or chat online.
Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.
You can also reach the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or chat online.

If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.