Mental health concerns for forced hotel quarantine
A TERRITORY truck driver has raised concerns about the safety of quarantine hotels for mentally unwell travellers returning to the NT after struggling to endure his own isolation.
FIFO worker Luke Hodge says he's not ashamed to open up about how tough forced hotel quarantine was on his mental health when he returned to Darwin after eight weeks of working alone in a truck in WA.
"I had to come home because it was getting too much and I was expecting to go straight home to finally see my family but got sent to hotel quarantine instead because the Government hadn't processed my travel exemption yet," he said.
"I had already ticked all the boxes to be given an exemption.
"I spent my first week in the hotel just waiting for these people at the Government to get back to me but I just felt like I was getting palmed off.
"I made it abundantly clear to them that I'm not coping well in here. I was shocked with lack of duty of care. They did not offer me support when I asked."
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Mr Hodge said he was worried that other Territorians in forced hotel quarantine who may be mentally unwell were not being supported enough.
"Had I been someone who was seriously mental ill and suicidal, I would probably be dead by now," he said.
"We can't ignore the strain this pandemic has had on people's mental health, we can't let people fall through the cracks."
One day after the Sunday Territorian contacted the Territory Government for an explanation of Mr Hodge's circumstances he was told that he could leave the hotel and quarantine at home with his family.
A Government spokeswoman said there was a welfare group that worked with the Red Cross to provide support to people undertaking the 14 days of quarantine mandated under some circumstances.
"People undertaking quarantine also receive an information pack that includes a range of mental health advice and lists the services that can provide 24-hour phone counselling and professional support," she said.
Originally published as Mental health concerns for forced hotel quarantine