THE Mornington Peninsula and Frankston are considered self-harm “hot spots” with some of the highest suicide rates in Melbourne.
The startling finding was revealed in the recent Royal Mental Health Commission report which highlighted the two local government areas as being “in particular need of mental health assistance, support and consideration”.
World Suicide Prevention Day was Saturday 11 September.
Free counselling service for young people Left and Right Counselling CEO Daniel Lennon said one in four Australians aged 12-25 reportedly struggled with mental health problems.
“Throughout the pandemic, demand for mental health support among young people has reached an all-time high,” he said.
“Self-harm and non-suicidal self-injury numbers are increasing, and crisis lines such as Lifeline are experiencing record demand.
“Mental health services are at capacity all over and we are experiencing record numbers of referrals throughout the local area as young people seek support.”
Mr Lennon said continued lockdowns were “exacerbating underlying issues” among young people, such as tension at home, reduced access to coping mechanisms and social support, and a loss of independence.
“The longer the lockdowns continue, the greater the need for mental health support,” he said. “The wait time in the area for a young person to receive mental health support is currently three to six months.”
He said the free counselling service, based in Frankston, was “working hard to provide desperately needed assistance to young people”.
“Organisations like ours need continued support, funding and assistance to meet increased demand,” he said.
“The wellbeing and mental health of young people requires a joint local community and state solution. These are unprecedented times, and they require an unprecedented response.
Left and Right Counselling uses a person-centred therapeutic approach to empower its clients to build resilience and coping skills for the future, Mr Lennon said.
The service has no session limit, flexible time slots and doesn’t require a Mental Health Care Plan to access.
Its referral partners include Headspace Frankston, Headspace Rosebud, Anglicare, Baptcare, ELMHS, Peninsula Health, Monash Health, Monash Children’s Hospital, HeadToHelp, Betterplace, Child Protection, Frankston Magistrates Court, MacKillop Services, Bounceback, YSAS, Chisholm, sports clubs, primary and secondary schools, doctors and psychologists.
World Suicide Prevention Day aimed to “create hope through action”, according to Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Nieves Murray.
She said the fact record numbers of people were seeking help from suicide prevention services was a “silver lining” that shows the sector is making a major contribution to keeping the community safe.
Ms Murray said young people were seeking help at twice the rate of their parent’s generations, following decades of awareness-raising, stigma reduction initiatives and advocacy.
“Creating hope through action is an important part of World Suicide Prevention Day and every other day of the year,” Ms Murray said.