It's not every day we get something for free. But thanks to one telco company, residents of Dubbo and Western NSW now have free access to a text counselling service.
And it's time other telcos jumped on board.
Lack of phone credit remains a barrier to people in rural and remote areas being able to reach out when they are feeling down - according to the first text counselling service VirtualPsychologist.
Our mental health is not something that we should ignore, and this new service will help those who are too afraid, uncomfortable or embarrassed to either call or seek out face-to-face support.
It's another avenue that residents now have access too.
During the COVID-19 pandemic there have been a spike in mental health related issues as people adjust to the changing climate and changing world.
However, help is always available, and while some may not feel they can reach out in one way, they may feel comfortable reaching out in another.
And this text service is the perfect example - which is why other companies should offer support and provide access to this service to their customers.
Phone credit can mean a lot and when you are budgeting week to week and a little assistance can help a person get the help they might need but not be able to afford.
Dervla Loughnane pioneered Virtualpsychologist and said she already gets people who say they would 'love to reach out, but don't have any credit on her phone.'
The feedback from the community has lead her to call on all the carriers to make the texts to Virtualpsychologist for free.
Already Optus have announced it would continue it's relationship with the company, with free text rates for post and prepaid customers who don't have plans with text allowances included.
It's a worthy cause for our residents, and something we hope other companies jump on board with.
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