The ongoing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic have caused significant disruption for many Australians. It may have affected your work, family life or other plans. For some, life has returned to normal to a certain degree, but for others things are constantly evolving or remains uncertain. Many people also feel overwhelmed by the constant news and amount of information about the pandemic. Managing your mental health during this time of change and uncertainty can be an ongoing challenge.
If you are feeling impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in anyway, this page provides information, tips and resources to support you and your loved ones’ mental health during this time.
Impacts on everyday life
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many of us in different ways. We have online and phone mental health support available for a range of situations and challengesthat you and your family may be facing.
It has been tough to be separated from our loved ones and social connections due to the pandemic. If you feel isolated or are struggling to cope, this page can provide support.
Many people have been feeling stressed about jobs, finances and housing. Others face risk of discrimination. This page has resources to support you during this difficult time.
You may be dealing with family related issues such as difficult living situations, risk of domestic abuse or worries about loved ones’ safety. This page can help you find the right support for your circumstances.
Maintaining good mental healthThis 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. Here are some ways to stay mentally healthy.
- Set up a daily routine - Plan activities that are fun (such as reading, watching movies, hobbies) and that give you a sense of achievement (such as cleaning, completing work tasks, learning a new skill).
- Stay active - create an exercise routine that can be completed at home, to maintain physical fitness and reduce stress.
- Eat well - plan and eat a variety of nutritious meals.
- Stay connected with friends and family via phone, chat, email, or video conferencing.
Getting information from trusted sources can help you determine reasonable precautions to take to maintain your health. See the links about the latest health information that we have included above in the Stay up to date section.
- This is unpleasant, but it will pass.
- What you say to yourself is important. Listen to the things you are saying to yourself and change negative comments to be more helpful and realistic.
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.
Here is some more information about how to access different types of mental health support.
Many reputable websites are providing information about how to manage mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak. Phone and online mental health services are also available to support you in managing the impacts of COVID-19 on your mental health and wellbeing, such as stress and anxiety, isolation and loneliness, or feelings of depression. We have links to these digital mental health resources in the Next steps section at the bottom of the page.
Choosing a digital mental health service—tips for consumers, carers and clinicians
During these uncertain times, it is important people are confident in the digital mental health services they are using. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has developed a series of tip sheets to help. They include key questions for consumers, carers and clinicians to consider before using or recommending a digital mental health service.
These fact sheets are based on the research and consultation undertaken by the Commission during the development of the National Safety and Quality Digital Mental Health (NSQDMH) Standards. The draft NSQDMH Standards are currently out for public consultation.
You can find the tip sheets and more information at: www.safetyandquality.gov.au/dmhs
Medicare has introduced new temporary telehealth mental health services. This means people eligible for a range of Medicare mental health services can now receive those services via videoconferencing or telephone.
Eligible patients should ask their service providers about their telehealth options, and whether these are appropriate for their clinical care needs.
Specific information about the new items, including eligibility criteria for health practitioners and patients, can be accessed at: www.mbsonline.gov.au and clicking 'News'.
If you are looking for a psychologist, the Australian Psychological Society’s website, Find A Psychologist, provides details about how to access psychologists across Australia. You can also visit the Australian Clinical Psychology Association website to find a clinical psychologist. Details of face to face health services, including other health professionals, are listed on healthdirect Australia’s health services directory.
Victorians now have access to additional mental health support with 15 new HeadtoHelp mental health clinics opening to the public. Services available on-site are free of charge to all patients. A Medicare card or ID are not required.
These services can be accessed by attending in-person at a clinic, or by phoning 1800 595 212 to talk a mental health professional. Calls from landlines are free, mobile charges may apply.
Those calling 1800 595 212 will be triaged by a mental health professional to determine the most appropriate service. This could include visiting a HeadtoHelp clinic, accessing appropriate digital supports or being connected with more intensive support.
You won’t need a referral from a GP or other health professional to access this service however your general practitioner may arrange for you to seek services through these clinics depending on your mental health needs.
Visit the HeadtoHelp website or phone 1800 595 212 for further details on how to access this service.
Find support that works for you
While there is a sense of normalcy, the pandemic may impact some people more than others. We have put together specific information and resources for people who may be struggling due to their personal situation or unique circumstances.
It is a stressful time for people who have moved to Australia from another country. You may feel alone, be worried about your family back home or face other challenges. Support is available if you need it.
Lockdown measures to limit the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus have impacted how Victorians work, study, connect with friends and family, celebrate, relax and move around.
Many older people have felt isolation, loss and grief due to COVID-19. We have resources that can help support your mental health. These resources can also help aged care workers and those caring for an older loved one.