Friends, family and a strong community are good for mental health, but the COVID-19 lockdown cut many Wellington Shire residents off from the people they would normally turn to, halted social activities, and left many feeling lonely.
So Wellington Shire Council and the Victorian Government have launched a new Community Activation and Social Isolation (CASI) initiative, to help people rebuild social connections and support networks in their local community.
CASI provides practical help and emotional support, free of charge. It reconnects local communities and offers practical, emotional or social support – particularly for those who don’t have many social connections or informal ties.
Support is provided by a range of organisations, including multicultural organisations, the University of the Third Age, neighbourhood houses, men’s sheds and volunteer groups.
Support includes regular chats with like-minded locals; practical help with things such as running errands or setting up a video chat with friends and family; and social activities such as online book clubs, fitness groups or volunteer work.
To access CASI, contact Wellington COVID-19 Relief Line 1300 137 218 (8:30am to 5:00pm weekdays, except public holidays) or firstname.lastname@example.org. After hours, call the COVID-19 hotline on 1800 675 398 and choose option 3.
And remember, if you need to speak to trained mental health staff, there are psychologists, mental health nurses, occupational therapists and care coordinators are available locally to support you at no cost. To speak to someone, contact 1800 595 212 (8:30am to 5:30pm - Monday to Friday, except public holidays) or visit HeadtoHelp Wellington, 10 Inglis Street, Sale. HeadtoHelp has been set up to help people specifically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.