Ararat Rural City Council is working with the Australian Red Cross to provide residents with emotional support amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Community Activation and Social Isolation initiative links residents to trained Australian Red Cross volunteers who can provide psychological first-aid and refer them to community support.
Ararat Rural City Council chief executive Dr Tim Harrison said the need for mental health care and support is more evident than ever.
"This being combined with community connectors will provide a more well-rounded level of support and we are very grateful to be a part of this initiative," he said.
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"This local level of support is crucial, especially in regional Victoria, where we have a range of different situations and concerns."
Ararat Rural City Council staff will be the community connector for the region. They will be able to connect callers with community services, groups and organisations to provide the support they need.
Community connectors will provide regular support chats, practical assistance such as helping people access essential items, and link people to social activities and groups to help with isolation.
The CASI initiative also extends to those in self-isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, and support options are available to those experiencing these circumstances.
"Having local connectors means that the support comes from like-minded people, who are in better positions to provide tailored support," Dr Harrison said.
"We want everyone in the community to not only feel comfortable asking for help, but also for the experience they receive when asking for help to be as tailored and helpful as possible."
Anyone who needs support during this time can access the Community Activation and Social Inclusion initiative by calling the Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 and pressing '3' to be directed to an Australian Red Cross Volunteer and community connectors.
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