Many Australians are having a hard time because of COVID-19. This virus has changed how we move around, work, study, and spend time with friends and family.
For people born overseas that are living in Australia, there are other challenges:
- important health information might not be in your language
- study plans have to be changed or cancelled
- can’t return for a family emergency to your home country
- jobs and housing are unstable or even unavailable
- lockdown makes you feel cut off from your community.
Worries about money, feeling cut off from your community or separated from your family, can make you feel stressed, isolated and lonely.
Looking after your mental health and wellbeing has never been more important.
If you 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 having difficulties.
Health.gov.au offers a list of resources about COVID-19 in 76 languages. The resources include fact sheets, guidelines and other publications.
SBS also provide coronavirus resources in 63 languages along with regular translated new updates.
It is important to seek support if you are feeling overwhelmed.
It can help to talk to friends or family about how you feel. They might also appreciate talking to you about how they feel.
Find some forums where you can talk to people with similar experiences.
How to access services
If you have a Medicare card, you can access 10 subsidised sessions per calendar year through a GP or a registered mental health professional such as a psychologist, social worker or occupational therapist.
From 9 October 2020, an additional 10 Medicare-subsidised individual psychological therapy sessions are also available each calendar year for people experiencing more severe or enduring mental health impacts. The additional sessions will be available to all eligible Australians nationally until 30 June 2022.
Follow these 3 steps:
A GP can write you a mental health treatment plan if you have a diagnosed mental health disorder. You need this plan to access 10 sessions each calendar year with a registered mental health professional, which are subsidised by Medicare.
Note: 10 additional individual psychology therapy Medicare-subsidised sessions are available to all eligible Australians until 30 June 2022 as part of the Australian Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- To find a GP, visit HealthDirect. You can also visit HealthDirect to find an allied health professional, in addition to 24 hour health information and resources.
- Primary Health Networks (PHNs) provide and commission service providers to undertake a range of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) activities across Australia designed specifically to meet the needs of their communities. You can find the location of PHN services here.
- Ask a friend or family member for a recommendation.
- Explore the Head to Health resources to find the support that feels right for you.
- Visit Find a Psychologist on the Australian Psychological Society’s website to connect you to psychologists anywhere in Australia. Services can be either face-to-face or through other modes including telehealth if this is safe and clinically appropriate in your circumstances.
- Visit the Australian Clinical Psychology Association website to find a clinical psychologist.
If you are currently visiting or living in Australia but are not a permanent resident or citizen, and you need to access treatment, you may have to pay for any costs if you don’t have private health insurance.
You can find more information here.
HeadtoHelp: new mental health clinics for Victorians
These new clinics will provide a place for Victorian’s to access free mental health support for the next 12 months. A Medicare card or ID is not required to access this service.
Please call 1800 595 212 to talk to a mental health professional and to find the closest clinic for you.
You might find online and phone-based mental health resources helpful. Some suggestions are below. You can find more with our Search tool.