Thursday, 3 September 2020
Statements by Members
COVID-19: Mental Health
For some people, 2020 has been the most stressful year of their lives. Thousands have lost their jobs or their businesses. Many of us have faced hard decisions and anxiety about the future.
I recently spoke with Caloundra Chamber of Commerce president Olivia Sainsbury, and she especially wanted us in this place to be aware that, in our local main streets, there are many small business owners whose mental health is truly suffering right now. I commend the government and the health minister on their significant action on mental health throughout this pandemic, including their recent investment in the Ahead for Business initiative, to expand services for small business owners and their staff.
However, one thing that has made this year's challenges harder than ever has been the isolation that many have experienced. Forced to spend weeks or months at home alone, many Australians have had little opportunity to connect with others and share their burdens. So, this year, it is more important than ever that we all get involved with R U OK? Day. On Thursday 10 September, I urge all Australians to reach out to someone and ask the question: 'Are you okay? Is there anything I can do to help you?' It isn't a lot of effort, but it can change a life. So, please, this year, stop, consider your friends, family and colleagues, and ask: 'Are you okay?'