In less than 7 months since its urgent commissioning, South Australia’s COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line has delivered more than 10,000 contacts to people impacted by COVID-19. This includes more than 7,000 calls to people returning from interstate and overseas who are quarantining in local hotels.

Simon Schrapel, Chief Executive of Uniting Communities which operates the service, said, “It’s been a remarkable journey since establishing the program in less than 72 hours, and engaging over 50 qualified mental health staff to take calls and provide outreach from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. The impacts of COVID-19 have been far-reaching and the added anxiety and distress across our community has been evident through the calls and contacts made.”

The Support Line extended its services to accommodate the increasing numbers of interstate and overseas arrivals needing to be quarantined in hotels. The service has needed to engage translators to assist communication with a number of returning citizens.

Acting Manager Anna Richmond said, “Mandatory quarantine has affected people in many different ways. The challenges of getting back to Australia has created anxiety for many and this is often coupled with issues of separation, concerns for the health and safety of family members, and uncertainty about their work and financial future.”

The costs associated with getting home, combined now with the costs of hotel quarantine, are also causing heightened financial distress for many.

Ms Richmond said, “Amongst helping people deal with the trauma associated with previous experiences living overseas and getting home, there are also powerful stories of resilience and survival for many returning Australians.”

“It is a privilege for Uniting Communities to have been able to deliver such an essential community service – not only for those returning to our State but for the many South Australians who have dealt with the impacts of COVID-19 for themselves and family,” adds Mr Schrapel.

“We know that there is increased pressure on people’s mental health and wellbeing and, with the support of the South Australian Government, the Mental Health Support Line is an important way of connecting with those who need some help in managing these challenges.”

The SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line is a free service, operating 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm. Anyone seeking support can contact the service on 1800 632 753.

Key information and statistics (since 31 March 2020)

Contact with people in mandated quarantine

  • Calls made to individuals in quarantine, incorporating a K10 mental health assessment = 4921*
  • Individuals in quarantine who have received follow-up calls and ongoing mental health support = 2179Total number of contacts = 7100 Total number of individuals = 4921

Contact with Support Line

  • Members of the general public who made contact with the Support Line = 1304
  • Online chats conducted = 88
  • People receiving ongoing mental health support = 156
  • Number of incoming and outgoing calls to people receiving ongoing support = 1683
  • People recovering from COVID-19 = 3
  • Number of incoming and outgoing calls to people recovering from COVID-19 = 63

Total number of contacts = 3183 Total number of individuals = 1463

*Excludes children under 12 and people who were unable to be contacted or declined support


For media contact and comment:
Simon Schrapel, Chief Executive
0411 643 132
Anna Richmond, Acting Manager
0400 043 540