As Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says there are "signs of hope" that Omicron has peaked, thousands of people every day are feeling the effects of COVID-19 on their mental health and reaching out to crisis support service Lifeline Australia.
Lifeline Central West chief executive officer Stephanie Robinson - who looks after centres in Dubbo, Bathurst and Orange - said the pandemic had brought on "a lot of confusion" and "people are quite unsure on many levels".
"Whenever I speak lately, I say recently we had the highest number of calls to Lifeline ever, and I wonder when that's going to plateau, but it's gone up yet again," Ms Robinson said.
"Over the past seven days nationally we've had over 3,000 calls every single day and it peaked on New Years Eve being 3,700 calls - which is something I never imagined would happen."
She said there was a lot of fear around COVID and modelling showing that even after vaccination, most of us could still catch the virus.
She said this, along with the question about when borders would open and close, caused "a lot of concern for people - whether that's for themselves or loved ones".
The new year led to more anxiety when people looked into the future and realised the uncertainty the pandemic brought was not relegated to 2021, she said.
"There is disappointment that 2022 may be yet another year of disruptions and uncertainties," Ms Robinson said.
Ms Robinson appealed to the community to look after their physical health during this time, too.
"There's been a lot of people unnecessarily lost during the pandemic because everything is focussed so much on COVID and the fear of going out or into medical settings has meant they have ignored symptoms and their health has declined," she said.
"I know some people who are no longer here because they didn't act on those physical signs.
"This is an important reminder that we can't separate our physical and mental health."
She said more than ever, it's important to look for the silver linings: "We've got to continue supporting each other during these times, and together we can get through."
- Lifeline's crisis support and suicide prevention service is available 24/7. Phone 13 11 14.