Keeping a healthy mind during COVID-19
No-one who is alive today can remember a pandemic on the scale of COVID-19. There is 24x7 coverage on social media, television and in every conversation we have. It is just such a unique situation. Undergoing such an immense change of lifestyle is always risky to mental health, but the widespread nature of the pandemic and its fast paced changes to the way we live our lives is very challenging to most of us.
As people self-isolate, perhaps losing jobs or entering into insecure employment for themselves or their family members, it is natural to be feeling anxious, lonely, angry, fearful or sad about the situation we find ourselves in and what may happen in the future. But if these feelings start to overwhelm us, it’s time to reach out from help.
Being physically separated from our family, our friends, our work colleagues and classmates and community can only make this harder.
Physical isolation is important but it doesn’t mean you have to be alone. If you are feeling lonely, depressed or anxious, reach out to family, friends and co-workers. A 5 minute call or a text can make all the difference. If things don’t improve quickly, it is a good idea to turn to some of the free community supports available (listed below).
Please click here to see a list of 10 things that you can do to protect your mental health and wellbeing. There is also a positive resource from a psychologist in the United States, Dr Margie Donlon which has been widely shared on social media. You can access a printer friendly version here. It might be worth printing out as a reminder for those days when you want to avoid technology.
MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING
School holidays could be a difficult and confusing time for many young people who are used to socialising with their friends. Many will find it difficult to cope with the changes particularly while many parents are trying to work and entertaining children whilst abiding by the Public Health Orders.
The Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing support website is regularly updated with advice and strategies to help manage wellbeing and mental health during this time and can be accessed here.
Below are some ways for parents to assist their children with their mental wellbeing.
1. Communicate effectively with children about COVID 19 and their mental wellbeing
Emerging Minds has a range of fact sheets on communicating with your child about COVI19, Helping Children Cope with Stress during the COVID19 outbreak, traumatic events, the media and parent-child play practice resources.
2. Utilise online digital tools for young people to assist them with good mental wellbeing
There are lots of great ways children can use devices to assist connect and foster good mental wellbeing. A free resource sheet is available here to help parents and carers support and guide children through this time.
3. Ensure your own Mental Wellbeing as a parent
It is also important for parents and carers to look after their own mental health and wellbeing. A free resource sheet is available here to help parents find their own support during this time.
FREE MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT RESOURCES
Below is a list of organisations that provide free mental health support and online resources:
24/7 Crisis Lines
You can call these crisis lines 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Emergency 000 - If you or someone you are with is in immediate danger, please call 000 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.
Lifeline: www.lifeline.org.au or call 131 114
Kids Helpline: www.kidshelpline.com.au/coronavirus or call 1800 551 800
NSW Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511
Mensline: www.mensline.org.au or call 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service: www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au or call 1300 659 467
Open arms – Veterans and Families Counselling: - www.openarms.gov.au/get-support or call 1800 011 046
Thirrili – Aboriginal Critical Response Support: www.thirrilicom.au or call 1800 805 801
General Support, Resources & Information
Beyond Blue: www.beyondblue.org.au or call 1300 224 636
Black Dog Institute – www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/ or call 02 9282 2991
Mental Health Online - www.mentalhealthonline.org.au
Mindspot – www.mindspot.org.au or call 1800 614 434
myCompass - www.mycompass.org.au
SANE - www.sane.org or call 1800 187 263
WayAhead Mental Health Association NSW - www.wayahead.org.au or call 1300 794 991
Parent line counselling service - www.parentline.org.au 1300 1300 52
Emerging Minds - emergingminds.com.au
Raising Children - raisingchildren.net.au/guides/coronavirus-covid-guide
The Brave Program - brave4you.psy.uq.edu.au/child-program
Mum Mood Booster - mummoodbooster.com/public
COPE - www.cope.org.au/new-parents
This Way Up - thiswayup.org.au
Specialist Mental Health Services
Click on the links below to access the contact details for specific mental health issues.
ONLINE TOOLS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
There are lots of great ways children can use connected devices to assist them with good mental wellbeing. A free and comprehensive guide to help parents and carers support and guide children to having safe experiences is online here
Smiling Mind - www.smilingmind.com.au
Mental health and mediation app for young people to boost calmness and contentment
eHeadspace - headspace.org.au/eheadspace
Free and secure space where a young person or their family can web chat, email or speak on the phone with a qualified youth mental health professional
ReachOut - au.reachout.com
Online resources and reviewed mobile apps and tools to look after mental health
Beyond Blue's dedicated site for youth. Information, resources and support for young people dealing with depression and/or anxiety.
Bite Back - www.biteback.org.au
Online positive psychology program aimed at improving overall wellbeing and resilience
The Butterfly Foundation - thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/
Free and confidential phone, text and email counselling and treatment referral for eating disorders, disordered eating, body image and related issues.
COVID-19 ADDITIONAL FUNDING ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Federal Government announced $74 million worth of funding to support the mental health and wellbeing of the community during the COVID-19 crisis. Funds were were allocated to the following:
$10 million to Beyond Blue to create and deliver a dedicated coronavirus wellbeing support line;
$14 million to improve the capacity of mental health support providers who have experienced an unprecedented surge in call volumes including $5 million to Lifeline and $2 million to Kids Helpline;
Targeted mental health support for health workers at the frontline of the pandemic though digital platforms developed to provide advice and assistance in managing stress and anxiety;
$10 million will be provided to a Community Visitors Scheme. Funding for staff to train volunteer visitors, who will connect with older people in aged care online and by phone;
$6.75 million will be provided to deliver the headspace digital work and study service and eheadspace;
$28.3 million to be utilised to continue to deliver psychosocial support to Commonwealth community mental health clients for a further 12 months.