Covid-19 Australia: Gus Worland says politicians MUST set date for 'Freedom day' for Australians

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'Australians need hope': Radio host Gus Worland says politicians MUST set a date for 'Freedom day' for the vaccinated or risk more Covid suicides

Radio star called for politicians to set a day to ease restrictions for vaccinated'We need to look after people who are doing the right thing,' said in online videoCalled for date to be set when Australia will hit 70 per cent vaccination target'What date will we be at 70 per cent and what will it mean to us?' Worland asked 

By Charlie Coë For Daily Mail Australia

Published: 20:37 EDT, 23 August 2021 | Updated: 20:53 EDT, 23 August 2021

Radio personality Gus Worland has called on politicians to set a 'Freedom Day' for vaccinated Australians in an impassioned plea about the impact of lockdowns on suicide rates.

The Triple M host on Monday said putting a date in the diary would provide a light at the end of the tunnel for those suffering with their mental health.

Worland, who founded the mental health charity GOTCHA4LIFE, said Australians needed to know exactly when authorities expect to hit the 70 and 80 per cent Covid-19 vaccination coverage targets.

'We are losing way more people to suicide than we are to Covid and we need to start looking after people who are doing the right thing,' he said in a video shared to Instagram.

Pictured are residents exercising at Rushcutters Bay in Sydney's east early on Monday morning. Radio personality Gus Worland has called on politicians to set a 'Freedom Day' for vaccinated Australians to give hope to those suffering with their mental health during lockdowns

'We need to have a day in our diary we can work to so we can get back to some kind of normal.

'We need to start having some hope.' 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has hinted areas of Sydney under lockdown with high vaccination rates and low case numbers could have some restrictions lifted once there are six million jabs in arms across the state.

Worland called on politicians to focus on vaccination levels - rather than how many cases there are each day - to give hope to Australians struggling in lockdown.

'It's great to hear politicians talk about vaccinations rates - lets talk about that - not case numbers, but the day that we can open,' he said.

'What date will we be at 70 per cent and what will that mean to us.

'We're doing too much worrying at home. We lose seven blokes a day to suicide [in Australia], and three ladies.'

'Give us a date': Worland said Australians needed to know exactly when authorities expect to hit the 70 and 80 per cent Covid-19 vaccination coverage targets

According to Lifeline, nine Australians take their own lives every day, with suicide the leading cause of death in people aged 15 to 44.

There have been 74 deaths as a result of the latest Delta outbreak in Sydney, which started in late June, and a total of 984 deaths since the first Covid case in Australia in January 2020. 

On Monday, there were three deaths from Covid-19 reported across NSW - well below the average suicide rate in Australia.

Worland has been a strong advocate for those suffering from mental health problems during the pandemic.

'Do you have any idea... how many people are taking their own lives? How many people who are depressed and anxious?' he told the Today show last week.

'Their numbers are bigger than the numbers that are dying through COVID.

Police at Sydney's 'Freedom Day' rally in the city on Saturday. Worland called on politicians to focus on vaccination levels - rather than how many cases there are each day

'At what stage are we going to turn that narrative around and really find out what the real numbers are, which is Australians dying in a lot of other ways because of the lockdowns?' 

Mental health support services have meanwhile experienced a surge in calls for help during the Covid-19 pandemic as Australians struggle to cope with the crippling cycle of lockdowns. 

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said calls made to Lifeline and Beyond Blue have increased by 30 per cent since the pandemic first hit Australian shores in March 2020.

The pleas for help come despite an extra $74million in government funding being invested in Australia's mental health services in the past year. 

The mulit-million dollar funding boost came in response to the World Health Organisation urging countries to increase investment in mental health services in a May 2020 report.

'The impact of the pandemic on people's mental health is already extremely concerning,' Director-General of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

'Social isolation, fear of contagion, and loss of family members is compounded by the distress caused by loss of income and often employment.'

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