The head of the peak body representing Tasmania's community managed mental health sector says it's too early to say if there will be enough services to meet an expected surge in demand because of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Mental Health Council of Tasmania chief executive Connie Digolis said if the attitudes of governments during the crisis were anything to go by, the early signs were promising.
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"I don't know if we're at point to be able to answer that because I think we're all learning as we go," Ms Digolis said when asked if she thought there would be enough mental health services to meet demand in the future.
"What's really reassuring is that from the outset we have seen this being acknowledged and there's been a really strong community, public and to a large degree government response to ensuring that people's mental health and wellbeing is front and foremost in how we need to consider the impacts and how we move forward."
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Ms Digolis singled out the Tasmanian government for its approach to mental health during the crisis.
"Our state government has been incredibly responsive in a way that has been knee-jerk, but that was absolutely necessary because we were in the middle of a crisis that none of us have experienced before," she said.
"We were really pleased to see them looking towards bolstering existing services to ensure there was continuity of supports for people who are known to us and receiving supports and services."
A "population wide surge of anxiety" due to COVID-19 prompted the community managed mental health sector to form a statewide network which met fortnightly to discuss the initial impacts of the pandemic and emerging themes, Ms Digolis said.
"Interestingly a lot of the discussion with our service providers last week was about their own workforce.
"They've had to almost immediately change their practice and a lot of staff are not only carrying the concerns of what that may mean for their clients and families, it's also about how that has completely shifted their workload and changed the way they practice."
Ms Digolis said that via a survey process, the new statewide network would be used to capture data about COVID-19 had impacted the delivery of different mental health services across Tasmania. She said data captured would be used to shape future models of service delivery.
"We're certainly in discussions with government about the recovery phase and what we need to start looking for," she said. "We are anticipating that as restrictions start getting lifted there will be a proportion of people who will be able to resume as close to a 'normal' life or a pre COVID-19 as they had.
"That's where we may then start to understand how many people have been anxious, depressed, traumatised for a period of time that puts them at risk of those [mental health] conditions being ongoing."
Governments and professionals in the mental health sector needed to continue to work towards ensuring support services were accessible to all people no matter what their level of need or bank balance, Ms Digolis suggested.
"That is precisely what we've saying for the best part of the last two decades ... we now have to be able to respond at a faster rate than we ever have before."
- Lifeline 13 11 14.