Family Forum: Not Coping with COVID-19

Seeking help for stress and financial pressure caused by COVID-19.


I live in the northern suburbs of Adelaide and I’m frightened and overwhelmed by what’s going on with the COVID-19 pandemic. My income has been drastically reduced, my bills are in a mess and I am not thinking straight. Is there anyone out there who can help me?


Nearly everyone has trouble managing their money and during this pandemic, when many people’s thought processes are in disarray, the task of tackling your bills can seem overwhelming. The panel is of the belief that the full economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still to be felt by our society. So if you are struggling with money pressures, act now, don’t wait until you get into trouble. Asking for help is the smart thing to do.

During the pandemic the Commonwealth Government is committed to providing financial assistance through Centrelink’s income payments of JobKeeper and JobSeeker. For more information regarding eligibility, you and your employer can check the website or visit your local Centrelink office.

Most credit providers have assistance packages for people struggling with their income. The first thing to do is to phone the provider and let them know you are experiencing difficulties, whether that be with your mortgage, rent, personal loan, credit card, electricity, gas, phone, internet and water or any other bill. As you can imagine at this time all providers are extremely busy taking people’s phone calls, so if you can’t get through promptly, you could find out the provider’s email address and send a message outlining what you require, and wait for the reply. This should save unnecessary anxiety.

Don’t feel discouraged, there are people who can help with income and expenses problems and they are called financial counsellors.

Financial counsellors can assist you in navigating through the financial maze and help ease your mind. These services are non-judgmental, confidential and free. Their guidance and support is available for anyone who is at financial risk. They can act on your behalf and contact the credit provider/debt collector and relevant ombudsman service and negotiate a hardship plan tailored for you.

To find your nearest financial counsellor, contact the financial counselling National Debt Help Line on 1800 007 007 or visit their website where you can explore the Australian map showing locations of more than 850 financial counsellors.

The panel also recommends that you have a health check up with your local doctor and remember, if you feel anxious and want to talk to someone, Life Line 13 11 14, Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636, MensLine 1300 78 9978 are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Family Forum is a panel of general practitioners, medical specialists, lawyers, therapeutic and financial counsellors to discuss each letter before the appropriate professional answers it. The panel is appointed by Relationships Australia SA.

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