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Help available when life takes an unexpected turn

14 October 2020 at 4:35 pm
Luke Michael
Ask Izzy is looking to connect with millions of Australians impacted by coronavirus 

Luke Michael | 14 October 2020 at 4:35 pm


Help available when life takes an unexpected turn
14 October 2020 at 4:35 pm

Ask Izzy is looking to connect with millions of Australians impacted by coronavirus 

With COVID-19 causing many Australians to struggle unexpectedly, a new campaign aims to let people know how they can access support no matter their situation. 

Ask Izzy – a website listing more than 370,000 health and welfare services across Australia – recorded over 450,000 searches during March and April when the pandemic hit, a 60 per cent jump since the same time last year.

Its “Unexpected Turn” campaign is looking to connect with people who may never have sought support services before, but suddenly find themselves in difficult circumstances.

Ask Izzy is run by social enterprise Infoxchange, and CEO David Spriggs said there was no shame in people seeking help.

 “In an ideal world, we’d love it if no one needed to use Ask Izzy. But the fact is that we all go through rough patches in our lives,” Spriggs said. 

“And in these especially difficult times we want everyone to know that help is available, and that Ask Izzy can help you find it.”

One person who has turned to Ask Izzy for help recently is Melbourne-based musician Nellie Jackson, from the band Loose Tooth.

She unexpectedly found herself struggling financially and mentally when her band’s gigs, new album and overseas tour were suddenly cancelled due to the pandemic.

“Music is such a private, personal thing that it’s kind of a therapy for me,” Jackson said. 

“So I’ve had to learn new ways to cope with the stress of life and my job.” 

Jackson said Ask Izzy was a great tool for people in her position who did not expect to be struggling and had no idea how or where to turn for support.

“I know for some people, accessing support is really overwhelming and really scary. If you don’t know what’s out there, you don’t even know where to start,” she said.

“With Ask Izzy you can just type in where you are and there you go, it’s all at your fingertips. Having that information is a powerful first step.”

Ask Izzy recently received $685,000 in federal funding to enhance the website, which experienced a 42 per cent increase of food category searches in Melbourne when Stage 4 restrictions were announced.

This comes as a new report from Foodbank shows the number of Australians relying on a food charity at least one day a week has doubled in 2020 due to coronavirus. 

The report found that 28 per cent of those experiencing food insecurity had never experienced it before the pandemic hit.

“COVID-19, and its flow on effects, have changed the face of food insecurity in Australia,” the report said.

“The global pandemic has impacted the lives of all Australians, however, those who were already struggling before coronavirus hit [have] felt the effects more quickly and more seriously.”

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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One comment

  • Sarah Langmore says:

    Ask Izzy links people to services. In the case of homelessness services, Ask Izzy links people to services that do not have the resources to respond – so false hope is created. Ask Izzy doesn’t adequately direct people to front end homelessness services in Victoria and the information on the app doesn’t warn consumers that, when they contact a service, the service may not have capacity to offer an appointment or provide a response. Homelessness services have been trying for some time to have descriptive information included in Ask Izzy to make it clear to the public that the level of resourcing to the homelessness sector is completely inadequate to supporting all those people who are experiencing homelessness.

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