A Tasmanian lifeline Lifeline Tasmania has set up a new service for Tasmanians, specifically to deal with unprecedented demand for information, advice and support because of the coronavirus pandemic. The State Government is backing the new service with $875,000 in funding for the next 12 months. It has also given substantial in-kind support by providing space in a State Government building where there was a fully fitted out area for the call centre, and IT expertise. The University of Tasmania has assisted in the recruitment of social work, psychology and counselling students to staff the call centre, creating new jobs for over 25 Tasmanians. The new staff will be professionally trained and will deliver the same quality of support that Lifeline Tasmania is respected for. Lifeline’s 13 11 14 crisis line continues to be available for those with significant and ongoing mental health issues, including those having suicidal thoughts. The new line will deal with the many issues around what is called psychological stress. The Mental Health Council of Tasmania stresses that psychological distress is not a mental illness. It is a normal human response to a situation that is frightening, confusing or upsetting. Research studies indicate that most people will experience some level of psychological distress during a pandemic. For most people this will ease over time and does not lead to mental illness. Being in ‘psychological distress’ means that a person feels unhappy, anxious, worried, angry, sad, scared or grief-stricken. For many Tasmanians 1800 98 44 34 – A Tasmanian lifeline is a service they might never have contemplated having to access in normal times. These are not normal times. Many Tasmanians experiencing stress, anxiety, worry, fear and a sense of helplessness because of the pandemic are strongly encouraged to seek assistance by calling this new Lifeline Tasmania service. The new Lifeline Tasmania service will provide information on the resources available to support those impacted by the unprecedented changes in the way Tasmanians go about their daily lives, including social isolation, loss of employment, the impact on mental health, the financial challenges and, in the case of health professionals, working in a high-risk environment. The new phone line will offer three types of support: Call in: Tasmanians will receive psychosocial support from a trained support worker to discuss concerns and be redirected where appropriate to a referral service. Call out: Contact socially isolated older Tasmanians identified through existing services, family and friends who are concerned or by other health professionals. Reach out: Through partnership with those industries significantly impacted, such as tourism, hospitality, retail identify at-risk members and reach out for psychosocial support, counselling or employee assistance programs. A Tasmanian Lifeline will be staffed from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. For more information about A Tasmanian Lifeline email: [email protected] All branding and creative images for A Tasmanian Lifeline have generously been created and donated by Before Creative.