Mental health during times of COVID-19


By Shane Wylie - Media Director

As I write this, we have almost two months of caretaker mode coming from the City of Melbourne Council due to the election. That combined with a relatively uncertain roadmap out of COVID-19 means this column will be a little bit different, a little bit personal.

You see, two months ago I lost my best friend. She’d struggled with mental health issues for years and finally ended her pain the only way she thought made sense. Of course, it didn’t make any sense to those that loved her and it’s left a hole that can’t be filled.

We hear every day how many deaths have been directly attributed to COVID-19 but no mention is ever made of the increase in domestic violence, suicide attempts or mental health admissions.

In her instance, COVID-19 was not directly attributable but it did play its part. A financial hole with no obvious way out, a loss of 95 per cent of her social network and an indeterminate path out of this time. While support is not always the answer, in most cases it does help and that’s why the Docklands Chamber of Commerce has partnered with two of its members to offer free counselling, support and care.

The first service is making waves across Victoria with the celebrities jumping on board for Talktober – an initiative to get you to call a different mate every day for October and see how they are doing.

The Male Hug has drawn upon such well known figures as Andrew Gaze, Dane Swan, Matthew Richardson and Clint Hutchinson joining Talktober to promote the importance of, in particular, men opening up and sharing their problems. The Male Hug services are free and we’ve partnered with them directly to promote the importance of communication in dealing with mental health.

In conjunction with Talktober we’ve also set up a COVID-19 advice webinar with The Male Hug which will talk through some of the touchy legal issues some of us might be facing. Things such as pre-VCAT negotiations regarding leases, trading insolvent and even bankruptcy will be dealt with in this webinar on October 14. Please view our website – – for the latest updates and ticketing (free).

Our second mental health initiative is promoting pastoral care from The Mission to Seafarers. The Mission, in a partnership with The Good Business Project, is now offering pastoral care for people of the Docklands business community. Richard Wilson has experience in providing support to business and business people, having worked for more than 30 years in business and government, and more recently as a priest in the Anglican Church. He is a trained and experienced pastoral care provider. Richard may be contacted on 0417 014 595 or at [email protected] It is free, independent and absolutely confidential •

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