Support worker cancels on vulnerable South Burnett man

Warning: Readers may find this content distressing. If you or someone you know is struggling to cope, seek help immediately by contacting Lifeline on 13 11 14.

"I'M COMPLETELY isolated and all on my own since this virus spread."

These are the words of 66-year-old Kingaroy man Geoff Hornery, whose support worker has cancelled their regular visits due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Mr Hornery has been living in the South Burnett with his two cats for 13 years.

"They're my therapy friends," he said.

"I don't have any family.

"It's just me, my cats, and my support worker."

Mr Hornery lives with what he described as crippling anxiety and depression.

"I was finally officially diagnosed back in 2012 when I first attempted suicide," he said.

"I had another breakdown and attempted suicide again back in 2017.

"I'm really struggling with this. I'm feeling even more isolated than usual."

Since the spread of coronavirus, Mr Hornery has struggled to retain an ounce of normality in his crucial routine.

"For me, routine is everything," he said.

"Without it I struggle to manage my mental health.

"I need support now more than ever."

Since his support worker cancelled their visits, he has spent his time researching ways to access services and reach out for help.

"All I've heard from the company and other places where I can access mental health support is that I have to do it all online," he said.

"I don't have a computer and my phone is about nine years old.

"I can't just go in and get a computer by myself, and even if I did I have no idea how to use it.

"I'm essentially computer illiterate - and I can't be the only one. I'm sure there's many other older folk out there in the exact same boat as me who are feeling completely cut off."

Mr Hornery said was doing his best to stay positive, however he found it difficult to do so without support.

"I miss my support worker," he said.

"They used to come over and help me with things around the place and really it was just nice to have someone to have a cuppa and chat with.

"No one comes over, so without their visits I'm going to be alone.

"If something bad happened no one would even know.

"I know it sounds a bit over the top but I've been making sure my phone is fully charged and carrying it everywhere with me around my place. Just in case I have a breakdown or it gets so bad that I need to call triple-0.

"I'm feeling really worried and scared. No one knows what's going to happen and I'm all alone."

Mr Hornery said he wanted to share his story, so others in a similar situation knew they weren't the only ones.

"I can't be the only person here feeling this way so I guess I just wanted to them to know they're not alone," he said.

"I just had to talk to somebody today - for myself and to spread my message and get word out there for people who are going through the same thing."

A hotline was activated last Saturday by the Queensland Government to support people who have been advised to quarantine at home by a medical professional, Queensland Health or through government direction.

This is to support those who are in quarantine and are not able to organise the delivery of essential food and medications. 

It is also offered for those who have chosen to self-isolate and require social and emotional telephone support.

The Community Recovery Hotline is available on 1800 173 349. 

South Burnett

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