Media event date: 
7 May 2020
Date published: 
18 May 2020
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

The Australian Government is continuing to expand critical mental health and wellbeing phone and online support services during COVID-19, including for health professionals working on the frontlines during the pandemic.

As part of the Government’s $74 million package to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australians, essential frontline health workers will be able to access a dedicated online and phone mental health and wellbeing program through the Black Dog Institute’s new e-health hub The Essential Network (TEN).

The Black Dog Institute, in partnership with other organisations, will provide the multifaceted platform to health professionals with specialist advice and care. The e-health hub, which aims to support health professionals to manage life and work through COVID-19, will go live on 7 May 2020 and will be available on the Black Dog Institute website.

To complement this platform, the Government is funding Smiling Mind, to provide frontline health workers with free access to their premium App, which offers practical tools to support good mental health.

These new programs are in addition to the Government’s free Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service, delivered by Beyond Blue, which is available for free to all Australians.

The online service is available 24/7 on the Beyond Blue website and the dedicated phone line, staffed by mental health professionals briefed on the pandemic response, is 1800 512 348.

The service offers easy access to a broad range of practical supports, and I urge Australians to reach out and get the help they need as we navigate the unprecedented COVID-19 health emergency.

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all Australians in different ways and the Government is making sure people can get the information and support they need at this difficult time.

To do so, we are not only delivering new services, but boosting the capacity of the mental health system. In addition to the already announced $7 million for Lifeline and Kids Helpline, funding is also being provided to bolster a range of key organisations providing care to at-risk groups.

  • SANE Australia will extend existing services and grow its digital capability, including the development and promotion of tailored content for people affected by complex mental health issues.
  • Independent Community Living Australia will expand access to virtual peer support through eFriend to people experiencing trauma, loneliness and distress via telephone or video-conference.
  • Blue Knot will strengthen its existing helpline to meet the escalating needs for complex trauma clients experiencing acute and cumulative traumatic stress, distress and anxiety.
  • The National LGBTI Health Alliance will enhance the QLife online and telephone peer support for LGBTI people, including specific online messages to the LGBTI community.

This is an evolving situation and the Government continues to work closely with the mental
health sector to monitor and respond rapidly to any emerging needs.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Beyond Blue
(1300 224 636), Lifeline (13 11 14), the Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s
digital mental health portal, Head to Health.

Ministers: