Take care of your mental health, Australia

August 17, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a big impact on mental health. Many of us find the restrictions, uncertainty, loss of income and social isolation hard to take.

This is a time to ask for help if and when you need it. 

Do you need help right now?

If your life is in danger CALL 000

Do you need support now?

If you or someone you care for needs support, you can contact any of these Crisis Counselling Services:

• Lifeline 13 11 14 – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
• Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636 – www.beyondblue.org.au
• Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
• Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 www.kidshelpline.com.au
• MensLine Australia 1300 789 978

Measuring the impact on mental health

We are beginning to get a clearer picture of just how much the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our mental health.

Researchers from Monash University report that the number of mental health problems doubled (at least) during the first month of pandemic restrictions.

Their large survey of Australians shows that around 1 in 4 adults is experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of depression and anxiety. This rate is significantly higher than usual.  Most alarming is that almost 1 in 7 people surveyed had thoughts of being better off dead or of self-harm.

The researchers tell us that “depression, and thoughts of being better off dead, are most likely to occur when people feel trapped, humiliated, and powerless and have experienced loss.”.

Mental health service Lifeline has reported a 22% spike in calls since the most recent lockdown in Melbourne.

Researchers from the Sydney University Brain and Mind Centre expect this decline in mental health to continue as the pandemic, and its economic impacts, stretch on.

Their modelling reveals that we can expect the number of suicide deaths and suicide attempts to rise more than 10% over the next 5 years.

We can address the problem

These figures are alarming, but with interventions from experts, government and individuals, we can address the impact. Experts advocate the following broad measures:

  1. Continuing with JobKeeper as long as the economic and health uncertainties persist. Slowing the rate of job losses and providing some certainty may help the impacts of chronic financial worries.
  2. Providing more education support for young people. Access to education and training will help counter the impact of job losses and loss of career development.
  3. Reducing social disruption by minimising community spread of the virus. With low levels of community spread, people can connect again at work and in their normal families and social lives.
  4. Provision in the National Budget to expand mental health service capacity, with an immediate focus on suicide prevention.

We can all play a part in supporting mental health

You can protect and support your mental health. Read more about the signs and symptoms of mental health decline here, and discover some simple measures to put in place today.

You can also find comprehensive information about mental health support at Head to Health.

Seek help if you experience distress or any decline in your mental health over this period. Speak to someone you trust today or contact:

To speak with an InstantScripts GP:

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