Support available for those feeling force of coronavirus
WITH a freeze on cruises, precautions around international travel and a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period for all incoming travellers, the region is beginning to feel the impact of coronavirus.
However, Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre has reassured residents that help is available as the support sector anticipates more people will be out of work or working less hours.
The centre provides support on a case-by-case basis in the form of food as well as third party payments for any resident in the region who is doing it tough, especially in the wake of coronavirus.
Executive Officer of Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre Rebecca Woods said the centre had developed contingency plans ahead of the weekend’s announcement of travel bans and cruise ship cancellations that would impact businesses in the region.
“We anticipate that people are going to be out of work or working less hours so that’s going to impact people in the community from an emergency relief point of view,” she said.
“We wanted to assure them we are here and we are still providing emergency relief.
“They can come and access our services if they find themselves in a position where they have lost their jobs or have less hours and can’t make ends meet.
“While we await whether government will put anything into place, we’re assuming that emergency relief is going to be only course of action.”
The Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre received 121 applications for assistance in January, a 50 per cent increase from the previous year.
Mrs Woods attributed this to a combination of the quiet period in tourism and the impact of coronavirus, saying other agencies in the region had observed a similar trend.
Beyond emergency relief, Mrs Wood said it was also important to keep an eye out for those who may be grappling with their own mental health issues in a time of high stress and anxiety.
“People are dealing with an unknown and often that anxiety does demonstrate in their behaviour as irritability and anger and a short fuse,” she said.
“There are also people that have their own mental health issues who don’t understand what’s going on moreso than the rest of us.
“Everybody is in the same situation, so look out for each other and have that empathy.”
Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre provides referral to free, over the phone counselling and support services on 4946 7850.