Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan): The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected everyone, and I offer my sincere condolences, especially to all those grieving the loss of a loved one or a friend.
This virus doesn’t discriminate; it can strike down anyone, at any time, of any age. While some recover quickly, it can have lasting consequences for our long-term health.
The way that my community has responded has been unbelievable. The best of our humanity has been on show.
In my electorate nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers have been working around the clock at hospitals, attending to the sick, and at testing stations on the front line of the fight against the virus. I thank you.
Mental health care providers have been inundated, and the effect of this pandemic on them is going to last for years to come. They will require our ongoing help. The situation is only going to get worse.
So next time we are discussing funding for services like Beyond Blue, or Lifeline, or the Red Cross, or MensLine, or Headspace, or Switchboard, or Sane Australia, or Kids Helpline, or Headspace, or MindSpot, or any of the local mental health care providers in local electorates—every member knows who they are—then let’s not quibble about it. Let’s just give them what they deserve—and more if we can.
And we know that drug and alcohol issues are very often connected to mental health issues, so organisations such as Odyssey House, Windana and VincentCare are also doing work helping many of those suffering with addiction problems that need even more help during this time.
Let’s not forget that it is these important mental health care providers who are also on the ‘front line’ saving lives each and every day during this emergency.