Mental health and COVID-19
Discussions and concerns around the coronavirus outbreak and practising self-isolation can be stressful and it can impact our mental health and wellbeing. It’s normal to feel a range of emotions, such as stress, worry, anxiety, boredom, or low mood. Many people feel distressed and overwhelmed by the constant news and amount of information about the situation.
Head to Health is committed to providing Australians with trusted information and digital resources to help support their mental health and wellbeing during this pandemic. This page covers where to get the facts about the coronavirus outbreak, tips for maintaining good mental health, tips for managing financial stress, information on how to access mental health services, information for parents, and information on how to keep older Australians safe and connected by helping them get established online.
The ongoing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic have caused significant disruption to the lives of many Australians. For some, it might appear as if life has returned to relatively normal, but for others it may seem as if the situation is constantly evolving, and normal as they have known it seems increasingly uncertain. Managing your mental health during this time of uncertainty can be an ongoing challenge.
If you are feeling impacted but don’t know where to start looking for support, Head to Health has some resources that might help. Resources are also available to help if you are supporting someone else who might be experiencing difficulties.
COVID-19: The facts
- The Australian Government Department of Health website is the main source of health-related information on what Australia is doing in response to this pandemic. See the coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert page.
- A national campaign has launched to inform all Australians about the coronavirus (COVID-19). The campaign aims to reduce the risk to individuals and families by enabling them to make informed decisions and to take up health recommendations. There are a range of coronavirus (COVID-19) campaign resources that provide more information and tips to help you be prepared. There are also translated versions of the resources in Arabic, Vietnamese, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Farsi, Italian and Korean.
- For the latest information about the global response to the COVID-19 outbreak, visit the World Health Organisation (WHO) page, coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Maintaining good mental health
This information has been produced in collaboration with MindSpot whose assistance is acknowledged and appreciated.
During this time, it’s important to do things that help us to cope and maintain good mental health.
We also have a separate page that describes some psychological skills to help you cope with anxiety and worry about COVID-19.
Managing financial stress
COVID-19 is not just an unprecedented health crisis, but also an economic one. The financial impact of the pandemic has affected millions of Australians who have experienced sudden job loss, reduction of work hours, financial upheaval, and are living with uncertainty about how long the crisis will last.
Economic hardship and financial stress can take a serious toll on our mental health and wellbeing. Other aspects of your life might also be affected, which in turn can impact your ability to cope during an already challenging period.
While it is normal to feel anxious and worried during uncertain times, it is important to take steps to protect your mental health and wellbeing.
We have resources that can help you manage your mental health and wellbeing during periods of financial stress or anxiety.
We have a range of government resources to help manage your financial circumstances. There are also many digital mental health services available to help with stress and anxiety stemming from financial distress.
How to access mental health services
It is important to seek support if you are feeling overwhelmed. Speaking with friends or family to let them know how you feel can help, and they might also appreciate talking to you about how they feel. There are also many digital mental health services that you can access online or over the phone, or you can connect with a health professional such as your GP, a psychologist, or other mental health professional.
Information for parents
This information has been reproduced with permission from raisingchildren.net.au.
Protecting our elderly
Social distancing and self-isolation are key measures for preventing the spread of viruses. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), the team of health experts from around Australia who are helping the Government deal with the outbreak, has also placed limits on organised gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups, including residents of aged care facilities. However, these measures can leave people socially isolated, which has negative impacts on mental health and wellbeing.
Elderly people are one of the groups most at risk of serious infection if they are exposed to COVID-19, but they are also vulnerable to becoming isolated during this time. Getting established online is a good way to stay connected and access services while minimising exposure and spread of COVID-19.
If you know an older Australian who might need assistance in getting established online and learning digital literacy skills, visit eSafety’s Be Connected website, which has great resources designed to help older Australians develop digital and online skills. eSafety's article Social distancing without the isolation: helping older Australians connect online highlights some of the key resources that can help right now.
Hear from mental health experts
- As a nation, as a community and as individuals we are facing an extraordinary time – with many of us feeling unsettled and uncertain as we work together to stop the spread of COVID-19
- Our mental health is equally as important as our physical health during this time
- While we are keeping physically distant, it is more important than ever that we remain socially and emotionally connected
- Mental health organisations, experts and leaders have come together to launch #InThisTogether – a national conversation that everyone can join in on, sharing practical tips online to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australians during COVID-19
- #InThisTogether calls on all Australians to proactively follow and share the tips while we remain socially and emotionally connected with family, friends, neighbours and your community
- We will all need a little extra support during this time, so let’s be kind, stay connected, check in with each other, and encourage people to seek professional support when they need it
You might find online and phone-based mental health resources helpful. Some suggestions are below. You can find more with our Search tool.