Additional mental health support in Australian capital amid COVID lockdown

Canberra, Sep 21 (UNI/Xinhua) Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Andrew Barr on Tuesday announced increased support for mental health services amid the region’s ongoing lockdown.
Barr said the ACT government would invest an additional 14 million Australian dollars (10.2 million US dollars) to support mental health, alcohol and drug services in the area of capital Canberra.
He described Canberra’s coronavirus lockdown, which began on August 12 and is now set to end on October 15, as one of the most challenging periods in the city’s history.
“It’s okay to not be okay at the moment, and support is available,” Barr told reporters.
On top of the funding from the ACT government, the federal government committed 2.5 million Australian dollars (1.8 million US dollars) to support Canberra mental health clinic Head to Health.
“Many Australians, particularly our young, are doing it really tough,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a statement.
“The current outbreak and lockdowns are creating immense pressure and distress, and it is vital that we continue to support people’s mental and emotional wellbeing throughout these challenging times,” said Hunt.
It comes as the ACT reported 16 new locally-acquired COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, up from seven on Monday.
Australia reported 1,641 new confirmed cases nationwide on Tuesday morning. New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state with Sydney as the capital city, reported 1,022 new cases and 10 deaths.


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