Across the country, many Australians are continuing to live in lockdown or with tough restrictions. Living under lockdown can be an overwhelming and exhausting experience. But we are getting better at knowing how to manage these changes.
These necessary measures have not been easy, for anyone. But it is harder for some; like, families kept apart, people living alone, parents home-schooling their children, those facing employment uncertainty, and small businesses who are struggling. People who may have been at an exposure site or in close contact with someone who has COVID are also likely to feel quite worried and stressed.
It is important that you take a moment and check in with how you feel. Being able to recognise when you are struggling—having a difficult day, or week, or something more persistent is the first step to manage your mental health and well-being right now. Staying connected with your social group – whether that is family, or friends or work colleagues, helps to keep you grounded.
You are not alone in feeling this way. Accessing support can really help when going through a tough time. Talk to someone you trust or reach out to your GP or a mental health professional if you need extra support.
For more information on restrictions in your local area, please visit Australia.gov.au.
Self-care and seeking support
Even as lockdown measures ease and communities progress safely and steadily towards a COVID normal, the ongoing impact of the pandemic will continue to be felt.
Information overloadWe’ve become more than ever reliant on news and social media.
- When is the next press conference?
- What are today’s COVID numbers?
- How long are the restrictions going to last?
While it is necessary to keep across current measures and restrictions, it is equally important to find time to switch off. There will always be new news, and keeping track of everything can quickly become overwhelming.
If you are concerned about your mental health, or just want to improve your wellbeing, take a look at our page on what can I do right now?
Emerging from isolationAs restrictions ease, we will all be put in situations that might feel unfamiliar, even though they were welcome everyday parts of pre-COVID life.
- How to greet a friend or family member … Can I hug you? Should I hug you?
- Can I make Christmas travel plans?
- Is it safe to catch the train to work?
- Should I visit my parents, grandparents?
- I do want to see my friends, but I feel anxious about leaving my home.
- How long will it last, will restrictions come back?
Easing of restrictions will present a new set of challenges. An extended period of isolation may leave you feeling disconnected from the way you used to engage with your community. These feelings may create anxiety and stress.
Each person will respond differently. It’s important to pay attention to how you are feeling, and find ways to support yourself through this transitional period.
There are many digital and phone resources to help with stress and anxiety, as well as HeadtoHelp, and Headspace if you are under 25 years of age. Your GP can also help.
Managing financial stressMany people were able to transition to working from home, but many others face ongoing employment uncertainty. Economic hardship and financial stress can take a serious toll on your mental health and wellbeing.
- How will I pay my bills, buy food?
- Where will I live if I can’t afford my rent or mortgage?
- My friends want to catch up for dinner, but I can’t afford to go out.
- Will I find a new job?
- Will I ever get another job?
There are 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.
Online and phone support
Head to Health can help you find online and phone-based resources from some of Australia’s most trusted mental health organisations. There are apps, online programs, online forums, and phone services, as well as a range of digital information resources.
Beyond Blue: Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support ServiceIf you are struggling to cope during the pandemic, Beyond Blue’s trained counsellors are available 24/7.
Reach out via phone or internet to access:
- Call 1800 512 348 for phone support service
- Web chat support service
- Online community forum
- Suicide and Crisis support
Lifeline: providing crisis supportLifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing emotional distress with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Lifeline is committed to empowering Australians to be suicide-safe through connection, compassion and hope.
If you are looking for crisis support:
headspaceheadspace centres act as a one-stop-shop for young people who need help with mental health, physical health (Including sexual health), alcohol and other drugs, or work and study support.
In response to COVID-19, some headspace centres are adjusting their service delivery to incorporate online and phone counselling (telehealth).
For more information visit headspace
Kids Helpline: your guide to everything novel coronavirusKids Helpline is Australia’s only free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.
This handy guide can help you understand how and why young people feel stress and anxiety.
HeadtoHelp: new mental health clinics
Victorians now have access to 15 new dedicated mental health clinics providing additional support to communities in Greater Melbourne and Regional Victoria.
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.
Clinic locationsGreater Melbourne: Berwick, Frankston, Officer, Hawthorn, Yarra Junction, West Heidelberg, Broadmeadows, Wyndham Vale, Brunswick East.
Regional Victoria: Warragul, Sale, Bendigo (Kangaroo Flat), Wodonga, Ballarat (Sebastopol) and Geelong (Norlane).
Find HeadtoHelp clinic locations.
HeadtoHelp clinics are operating in a COVID safe environment.
Please call 1800 595 212 to talk to a mental health professional and to find the best service for you.
More information on HeadtoHelp can be found at HeadtoHelp.org.au including some frequently asked questions.
You might find online and phone-based mental health resources helpful. Some suggestions are below. You can find more with our Search tool (opens in a new tab).