Last week, the state of Victoria, Australia (where I was born) imposed a new “snap” lockdown for 5-days, after months of no COVID in the community.

Just as the people of the Isle of Man were discussing a possible third-lockdown, I received an email from Brad Rowswell MP, the Shadow Assistant Minister to the Leader of the Opposition, about the costs of their lockdown.

This “snap” lockdown appears to have caused significant harm to mental health – and this was the consequence on just ONE metric of mental health. Untold more did not reach out for help.

Brad wrote:

Victoria’s latest lockdown has had a shattering impact on the mental health of thousands of Victorians.
The snap five-day lockdown announced by Premier Daniel Andrews last Friday led to a surge in requests for mental health support, with Lifeline on Saturday receiving its third-highest number of calls in the nearly 60 years it has been operating.
Lifeline received 3306 calls for support following the Premier’s announcement. 
It’s a sobering statistic considering that for every person who does seek support, there are many more who go it alone and do not reach out for help.


We have yet to hear a daily tally of those people who have lost their lives to suicide because of the circumstance that we find ourselves in here in this state.

We have yet to hear a daily tally of those Victorians who are at greater risk of family violence because of the circumstances that we find ourselves in.

These numbers are much more important because these numbers are what is so vitally important in the recovery of our state – the ongoing flow-on effects and health and economic impacts that will be felt in every Victorian community for the years to come.

Victoria needs a proportionate response to outbreaks that balances the economy with mental wellbeing.

And we deserve a government who prioritises the mental health of its citizens. 

Powerful stuff indeed.

Michael Josem is a long-term consumer advocate, most prominently as a global leader in combating fraud in the online gambling industry. He was in part the inspiration for the 20th Century Fox Movie, Runner Runner, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.

Josem has over a decade of experience as a senior business leader working across various high-tech and online industries, and takes action to build a better community. His primary volunteer roles include service for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and Graih, the homelessness charity.