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Despairing doctor’s plea: Premier urged to ease restrictions as youth mental health crisis builds

Ten Melbourne doctors have signed an open letter warning Daniel Andrews that the extended lockdown is causing a youth mental health crisis.

Camberwell GP Stacey Harris, who wrote the letter, says she’s seen a large spike in the number of children and teenagers she is seeing who are depressed, and in some cases, are suicidal or self-harming.

“It’s astounding. These young kids are coming in clinically depressed because they have no hope,” she told Neil Mitchell.

“A lot of them, too, it’s an exacerbation of their existing mental conditions, so some are on the verge of eating disorders and then I hear from the parents that COVID lockdown has just tipped them over.”

Dr Harris says waiting times to get young people into psychologists have ballooned.

“The psychologists I normally go to, that I can get patients into in a couple of weeks, most of them are not taking new patients until next year,” she said.

The Camberwell GP is pleading with the state government to relax restrictions to ease the mental health impacts of lockdown.

“The numbers are down. If contact tracing … is all working really well, why can’t we open up?,” she questioned.

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