The ACT government will continue to look at further mental health support measures in the wake of Canberra's lockdown being extended by two weeks.
There has been an increase in the number of mental health presentations at Canberra's hospitals and support organisations have reported higher levels of distress.
The head of ACT's office for mental health and wellbeing said people's mental health had been affected differently during this lockdown, compared to the initial shutdown last year.
Dr Elizabeth Moore said people were more anxious and this lockdown was qualitatively different as children were at risk.
"People actually respond in different ways. Some people said to me that they actually felt guilty that we hadn't had a lockdown. You could see it in Sydney, you could see it creeping up the road," Dr Moore said.
"Other people have felt really worried about their ability to cope with home learning, for instance, and what they need to do."
ACT Minister for Mental Health Emma Davidson announced the recipients that would receive a share of $260,000 for mental health support. But she also said the government would look at further support given an extension of the lockdown.
"If the lockdown is extended, then we will be talking about what additional measures we need to put in place," Ms Davidson said.
Ms Davidson said last year's lockdown showed there were six groups of Canberrans who had specific mental health support needs and the government had targeted funding at these cohorts.
The groups were expectant and new parents, members of the LGBTQI+ community, young people suffering mental ill-health, people experiencing both homelessness and mental ill-health and carers.
Six organisations each received $40,000 in funding: Perinatal Wellbeing, Meridian, Catholic Care, Mental Health Justice Health Alcohol and Drugs Service, Carers ACT and Woden Community Service.
There was also an additional $20,000 allocated to materials to help contact and connect with Canberrans who do not use social media and are harder to reach through other channels.
"When we went through the lockdown in 2020, we learned a lot about who was most experiencing additional needs for support and we've talked to the organisations that we know are already working with those people about what can be delivered to them," Ms Davidson said.
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the ACT did not see an increase in mental health presentations initially during last year's lockdown, but this had changed throughout the pandemic.
"Since restrictions started being put in place, we have seen increases in mental health presentations at our hospitals, feedback from our community partners that they are also seeing not just increased numbers, but higher levels of distress among some of the cohorts of people that they support," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
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Ms Davidson said her office had also fielded many inquiries from people about what they had found difficult during the lockdown period.
"We know there are a lot of people who are trying to juggle a lot of disruption in their life at the moment," she said.
"For some people that might be children studying at home or parents working at home and trying to still do all the things they would normally do.
"For other people with different situations, they're experiencing drug and alcohol issues, or they have a pre-existing health condition that might be exacerbated if they can't get access to things they would normally access.
"So it's about trying to support people to continue to do the things that take care of their wellbeing as much as possible."
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