How to manage the mental health impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19)
I remember back in the day as kids; our biggest concern was making sure we got home before dark. We weren’t forced into isolation at home or kept away from visiting our friends and loved ones. We were free to play sports and do the things we loved the most. Life has certainly changed for our children.
With the unexpectedly high number of coronavirus cases in Melbourne and more popping up in other parts of the country, I know it must be an extremely tough time for families. As a Melbourne girl now living in Queensland, I feel for all my friends and family at home who are struggling through these unprecedented times.
Following on from the devastating bushfire disasters over summer, Australians are in a heightened state of anxiety. Many are struggling to manage the uncertainty surrounding the possible spread and impact of COVID-19.
Increases in mental health challenges have been due to months of physical distancing, job losses, economic uncertainty, housing and food insecurity, juggling carer responsibilities and school closures. Many of us are having to balance far too much, such as homeschooling and work — and it’s taking a toll.
There will be some who will be affected by long-term anxiety as a result of this pandemic. This includes health care workers, people placed in quarantine, unemployed and casual workers, and individuals with life-threatening cases of COVID-19 are at increased risk of long-term mental health problems.
What are the mental health impacts of COVID-19?
It’s common to feel stress and worry when there is a pandemic. Some of the potential mental health impacts are:
- increased anxiety for self and others (this can be expressed as a fear for one’s own health and a fear of infecting others)
- psychological distress
- perceived stigmatisation
- social isolation
- confusion, anger, boredom and loneliness
- interruption to employment or study impact on normal daily routine and functioning.
Longer duration of quarantine, fears of infection (getting sick themselves, or infecting others), having inadequate supplies, inadequate information, experiencing financial loss, and stigma are associated with poorer mental health outcomes following quarantine.
Some people will manage with the support of family and friends, but others may need some extra help to keep things on track.
Getting professional help – Online Therapy is available
If you or a loved one is struggling to manage feelings of loneliness, anxiety or stress or if you are experiencing other challenges such as physical or mental health difficulties, trauma, domestic violence; we recommend seeking professional help from a psychologist.
To make it easier to access professional help, Positive Families offers online therapy and Telehealth services click here. Online therapy is an increasingly popular option due to the convenience and is no different from visiting our practice in Brisbane.
When referred to a psychologist by your GP, you may be eligible for a Medicare rebate. Visit our online psychology page here for more information on how you can get started.
Let’s work together to stay safe
While we all adjust to this new world that we live in, let’s remember COVID-19 has also brought out a tremendous community spirit, in what would be such an isolating time.
Remember, feelings of stress, worry and anxiety are common. It’s important to talk to someone about it so that we don’t feel alone. Even a simple act of talking to your neighbours over the fence can do wonders for your mental health.
If you ever feel you need professional help, Positive Families is here for you. Please contact us to see how we can help you and your family.
If you, a friend or family member are experiencing distress, please contact one of the following numbers:
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
- Mental Health Line 1800 011 511.