How to take care of your mental health in COVID-19 lockdown

With numerous COVID-19 lockdowns underway across the country, experts have been urging people to take the time to care for their mental health.

Beyond Blue has announced its launch of the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service (CMWSS), which will be available 24 hours a day.

The hotline, on 1800 512 348, offers "tips and strategies for self-guided support, referrals, information and support from counsellors briefed on the pandemic response" Beyond Blue said in a release.

READ MORE: NSW chief psychiatrist urges mental health care in lockdown

It can also be accessed online at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au.

"Our well-known Beyond Blue Support Service continues to operate as usual, providing support for those experiencing suicidality, anxiety and depression," the organisation said in the release.

The Beyond Blue Support Service can be accessed at 1300 22 4636 or online at beyondblue.org.au/getsupport.

From October 9 last year, the federal government said 10 additional Medicare-subsidised psychological therapy sessions would be available each calendar year for people "experiencing severe or enduring mental health impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the measures needed to contain it".

mobile phone texting text message stock file

The measure was previously only available to people in areas where public health orders restricted movement within the state or territory.

However, from that date until at least June 30, 2022, that requirement has been struck out.

You can find out how to access those sessions online here.

NSW Chief Psychiatrist Dr Murray Wright has also urged people to take use some "simple and straightforward" ways to keep track of the mental health effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

"How we manage it is going to be really important in minimising the well-being and mental health impacts of the stress," Dr Wright said.

"What people need to do is to have a plan to manage their stress and to monitor it and review it on a regular basis."

READ MORE: Where to get mental health care during Victoria's sixth COVID-19 lockdown

Dr Wright outlined the following measures to take control of your mental health, while also looking out for your friends, family and loved ones.

Have a plan and create structure

With normal routines thrown into chaos with the closure of most workplaces and social outlets, Dr Wright has recommended trying to keep some structure.

Regular daily exercise – such as walking, running or gardening – can provide a sense of routine during lockdown.

According to Beyond Blue, exercise can help prevent and manage the symptoms of mild anxiety and depression, lift your mood, improve sleep and increase energy levels.

Dr Wright said it was also important to have regular contact with your loved ones to talk about how you are coping.

Stay healthy

Dr Wright said monitoring things like your diet, your sleep and your alcohol intake can help.

He encouraged people to set goals every day and review them.

"None of us always execute the perfect plan, but it's important to review it and renew it on a daily basis," Dr Wright said.

"The signs of things not working include difficulties with sleep, difficulties with concentration, feeling unduly fatigued, feeling overwhelmed, irritable, or consuming too much alcohol.

"If any of those things are happening either to you what people around you, you should make it a subject of consideration."

Ask people if they're okay

Dr Wright encouraged people to talk about how they are feeling with a trusted family member or friend.

"That never does harm," he said.

"It often does a world of good and making it a regular subject, as well as talking about the pandemic and talking about wellbeing, is really critical for all of us.

"It will minimise the impact and it will minimise the long-term impact of mental health issues long after the pandemic has gone."

Seek mental health help

Online organisations such as BeyondBlue have specific advice for managing during the pandemic.

Dr Wright said it was important to also be mindful of the mental health of the people around you.

"It is helpful to assume that everyone you come into contact with is also dealing with the stress and is impacted by the stress and may not be responding to the things around them in their usual way," he said.

"If at all possible, cut them a bit of slack on that basis.

"We expect that people will struggle from time to time, look out for the people around you, talk about what you are doing about it and reach out for help if you need it."

For immediate assistance:

  • Beyond Blue – 1800 51 23 48
  • Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14
  • Domestic Violence Line – 1800 65 64 63
  • 1800RESPECT – 1800 73 77 32
  • Suicide Callback Service – 1300 65 94 67
  • If you are in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on Triple Zero (000).
  • NSW Domestic Violence Line – 1800 65 64 63 (24 hours a day, seven days a week)

Counselling and crisis services

  • Black Dog Institute – A free online clinic providing a mental health assessment tool and other support services.
  • Head to Health – A resource to help you find digital mental health and wellbeing resources.
  • Lifeline (13 11 14 – operates 24/7) – For crisis support and suicide prevention services.
  • RUOK? – Empowers people to connect with others and support anyone who may be struggling with life.
  • ReachOut – Provides tools and support to help young people with everyday issues and tough times.
  • Kids Helpline (1800 55 18 00 – operates 24/7) – A telephone counselling support line for children and young people ages five to 25.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *