New mental health helpline answers Western Sydney COVID concerns

COVID-19 Let’s Talk help line left to right: School-link clinician Hana Ogawa, psychologist Jordan Gorham, administration officer Aline Fernandez and clinical nurse consultant Louise Goldsmith.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to changes to our normal practices including self-isolation, physical distancing, remote learning and job changes. As a result, many community members may be experiencing distress. 

To help families deal with these stresses and lifestyle changes, Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) has launched a free mental health phone service, called COVID-19 Let’s Talk.

The phone line is open Monday – Friday from 8.30am – 5pm on 8890 5236, and provides advice and help for children, teenagers, carers and adults who require counselling and support.

COVID-19 Let’s Talk help line Perinatal Child and Youth mental health services operations manager Sumithira Joseph.

WSLHD Perinatal, Child and Youth Mental Health Services clinical director Dr Ashwini Padhi says mental health is equally as important as physical well-being during the pandemic.

“Our qualified and experienced psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers, clinical nurse consultants and psychiatrists specialising in perinatal, child and youth mental health are on hand to help,” Ashwini said.

“This free telephone service is available to everyone within the Western Sydney community, including GPs, paediatricians and school teachers if they have concerns about the mental health of a young person.’

Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor commended the hard work of mental health teams on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year has been a tough year for everyone and our communities need our support,” Mrs Taylor said.

“Many people are dealing with employment changes or are worried about elderly family members or loved ones.

COVID-19 Let’s Talk help line left to right: Perinatal Child and Youth mental health services operations manager Sumithira Joseph, school-link clinician Hana Ogawa, psychologist Jordan Gorham, administration officers Saravana Rajaram and Aline Fernandez, Perinatal Child and Youth mental health services clinical lead Katrina Shade, clinical nurse consultant Louise Goldsmith and clinical director Dr Aswhini Padhi.

“I congratulate Western Sydney Local Health District for setting up another option for community members to reach out for support if they need it.”  

A brief assessment of a caller’s needs will be undertaken when a call is received, and supportive counselling and information is provided to assist with addressing any mental health concerns.

The NSW Government deployed more than 180 mental health workers across the state, and $6 million provided to Lifeline to ensure it’s equipped to respond to the increased needs of the community.  These initiatives are part of the NSW Government $73 million package to boost mental health services during the COVID-19 pandemic – read more.

Please note, this is not a crisis service.

For 24-hour crisis services, please contact:

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511

For information and advice on COVID-19, please contact:

National Coronavirus Health Information Line: 1800 020 080

Health Direct: 1800 022 222

You can also visit the NSW Health website for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx