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Lockdowns have pushed our mental health to the brink

New data has revealed the worsening mental health toll of indefinite lockdown and isolation from friends and family.

Figures today from YouGov have found the mental health of 54 per cent of Victorians has worsened during the pandemic, with 39 per cent saying they’re also worse off financially.

Lockdown is also decimating the mental health of the youngest Victorians but, until now, we’ve struggled to get a true picture because the Andrews Labor Government has chosen to keep key data secret.

Leaked data from the Victorian Agency for Health Information (VAHI) shows a harrowing increase in self-harm and suicidal thoughts among those aged 18 to-24, with 122 average weekly cases in the six weeks to May 2.

Shadow Minister for Mental Health Emma Kealy said Victorians had lost hope with no plan from the Andrews Labor Government.

“We’ve always been prepared to do the right thing, but 18 months in and out of lockdown is taking an enormous toll on the mental health of every single Victorian,” Ms Kealy said.

“What’s worse is there’s still no plan out of lockdown and, in recent weeks, Daniel Andrews has been walking back promises that we’ll have a more certain future as vaccination rates reach 80 per cent.

“The isolation is weighing heavy on the shoulders of young Victorians, but the Andrews Labor Government has no plan to give us hope there’s a road out of lockdown.”

Victoria’s Chief Psychiatrist Dr Neil Coventry recently raised serious concerns the mental health of Victoria’s most vulnerable children and teenagers will never recover.

Earlier this year, it was revealed eight teenage girls had taken their lives in the first seven months of 2021. It’s seven more than the same time last year.

“We can’t afford to ignore the impact this shadow mental health pandemic is having on children and teenagers,” Ms Kealy said.

“They need to be back in school. They need to be with their friends, they need to be back playing sport, doing creative activities, doing those things that give them emotional and mental health support.

“This lockdown is destroying lives and livelihoods.

“Victorians are doing the right thing, we’re doing our bit by getting vaccinated but we need hope with a plan out of lockdown.”

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