“We found three-quarters of people were struggling with their mental health in one way or another and out of those 20 per cent are not getting help and that’s very dangerous for our community,”
said Reverend Garner.
“We don’t talk about these things and one of the good things I’m hoping comes from this global malaise is more of a willingness to talk about our mental health and wellbeing.”
The Wesley data comes as Beyond Blue reports that seeking support for mental health issues reduces distress and improves people’s ability to cope.
A peer-reviewed study in the Evaluation Journal of Australasia found even a single phone call or webchat session with a mental health professional from the group had immediate positive effects.
The study of more than 400 people found Beyond Blue’s online and phone counselling services to be effective, and those who used it were likely to take further action to improve their mental health within three days, making them feel less distressed and less hopelessness.
Beyond Blue chief executive Georgie Harman said online support had been shown to be effective in a year when demand for services was at an all-time high.
“Never before have we seen so many people take that first step to seeking support for their mental health,” she said.
After a session with a mental health professional, distress levels dropped by an average of 42 per cent and people’s ability to cope improved by an average 32 per cent.
Ms Harman also urged people to make contact with services if they are experiencing mental health concerns.
“These results remind us that it’s never too early, or too late, to seek support – just one phone or webchat interaction with a Beyond Blue counsellor can provide immediate and effective results as well as a pathway to longer-term support,” Ms Harman said.
If you or anyone you know needs support call Lifeline on 131 114, or Beyond Blue’s coronavirus mental wellbeing support service on 1800 512 348.
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Wendy Tuohy is a Sunday Age senior writer.