Mental health care services are struggling to cope with an increase in the number of people who are seeking help in a crisis.
The ABC’s Mental Health Insights team has broken down how to call 911 and seek help in crisis in Australia.
Read more about mental health: The crisis has hit Australia’s mental health system, where more than 600 people have been treated for mental health issues in just three months.
Almost 40 per cent of those who have been referred to mental health services are currently receiving treatment, with some waiting weeks or months to see a specialist.
Dr Paul McKeown, a psychiatrist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, said that the increasing numbers of people seeking treatment for mental illness was a sign of the state of mental health in Australia, and that many people were waiting for help because they didn’t feel comfortable with their own voices.
“It is a symptom of a much broader problem, a lack of confidence in your own ability to make decisions about your own health,” Dr McKeong said.
When people with mental health problems seek help, they often don’t know where to turn for help, and they often are often referred to hospitals or social workers.
This can be especially problematic for people who have suffered from mental illness themselves, who often may be the first people they seek out for help.
What to do in crisis: Call 999, a crisis line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people with psychiatric illness, or call Lifeline on 131 444.
Call a suicide prevention hotline on 0800 555 111 or visit Lifeline.org.au for more information.