While many are talking about the physical health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, few have been highlighting the mental health challenges it will simultaneously bring.
Mental health doesn’t operate in a vacuum, parallel to everyday life.
Rather, everyday life, financial challenges, fear, loneliness and family law battles will all play a part in contributing to an increase in Australians seeking support.
This is not a gender issue.
Mental health is a human battle.
Men and women suffer, feel pain and hopelessness, equally.
On Sunday, the Morrison government announced a $1.1 billion package that has been tailor-made to assist Medicare, mental health services and family violence services through this tough period.
“Telehealth is vital for mental health and for physical health,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a media conference. “What we are doing now is a radical transformation in the way we deliver our health services. As of tomorrow [Monday], we will have universal telehealth available in Australia. Everybody who is self isolating or is under formal isolation or formal quarantine, that means you can bring your doctor, whether it is your GP, your specialist, your mental health psychiatrist or psychologist, your allied help practitioner or your nurse practitioner, all of these are available.”
The new measures will remain in place until at least the end of September.
Specific funding has been announced for Beyond Blue, Lifeline and Kids Helpline.
We must not forget that it’s the male suicide rate soaring, even before this corona-crisis began.
We already know from data to date that coronavirus is killing more men than women.
Equality of mental health support and fixing the family law system must remain on our radar if we stand any chance of coming out the other side of this crisis without even more men to bury.
Women’s groups are already attempting to manipulate this pandemic to secure additional funding in a system that ignores men’s pain; saying, “Men use the fear of coronavirus to threaten their partners.”
Counselling services such as 1800 Respect will receive $150 million as part of the new coronavirus package.
Last week, Liz Thomas, chief executive of Wayss social services organisation told the ABC, “Perpetrators have actually used COVID-19 as a form of abuse, telling their partner that they have the virus therefore they can’t leave the house. Inviting people into the house where the woman is self-isolating, saying that the visitor has COVID-19 and he’s going to infect them. So it’s a real form of abuse we have not experienced before.”
Let’s not drag this pandemic into the gender wars, attempt to weaponise and monetise it.
We’re better than that.
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.