Good morning. My name’s Ruth Vine. I’m the deputy chief medical officer for mental health, and I’m really pleased to be with you this morning. This week, I’m answering some of your questions about mental health and wellbeing – yours and particularly with some about children and young people. And to that end, I just want to do a bit of a shout-out today to some of our many professionals and volunteers who work with the mental health support lines and the staff who support those people. I have to say the demand on our mental health service support lines has been huge during COVID. We’re still seeing quite significant rises compared with two years ago, and perhaps to just give you a bit of an example of that: Just in the sort of month of February, Lifeline had something like 87 calls, Kids Helpline, 24,500, and Beyond Blue, well over…almost 22,000. So, people are really reaching out for help, and that’s absolutely appropriate, and services are set up to do that.
So, first question: “The pandemic seems to just keep going. “I’m not in crisis but it is a challenge to stay positive. “What can I do to keep going?” Well, look, the first thing I have to say is: It has been a tough two years, and you’re not alone if you’ve feeling just a bit sort of weary and over it! You know, things feeling tougher, and getting the energy up is tougher and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is tougher. Having said that, we are in a better place. We do know that the numbers in hospitals in most states, not in all states, but the numbers in hospitals is going down. We do know our kids are back at school, and that sort of routine of life is returning to…closer to what we would think of normal. So, it’s very understandable that you do feel a bit sort of ‘bleurgh’, but it’s also…I think you can be hopeful that things are going to look up. So, some really common sense, basic things. Firstly, be nice to yourself. Give yourself time, and when you know that there are things you enjoy doing, make sure you give yourself time to do those things. Make sure you structure your day as best as you can, eat well, rest well, and, you know, reach out for help when you need it. And I’m not talking about reaching out for professional help, but just staying connected with those who you feel understand you,those who you feel you have a sort of sympathy with and get along well with. And of course, if you do feel stuck, reach out more professionally. So, you’re not alone. We all but many of us feel very weary, and I think our energy levels will come back.
The next question I have: “I …….