It’s normal to feel stress and worry when there is a health event happening in the community that is affecting people’s wellbeing, such as coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
This can affect any person in the community who is concerned about the infection or issues relating to job losses or the impact on business, with more specific concerns arising for people being tested, people in quarantine and people who have received a diagnosis.
Family and friends can also experience similar mental health impacts.
Being exposed to large volumes of negative information can heighten feelings of anxiety. While it’s important to stay informed, you may find it useful to limit your media intake if it is upsetting you or your family.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or stressed by news of the outbreak. Beyond Blue encourages people who have experienced mental health issues in the past to:
- activate your support network
- acknowledge feelings of distress
- seek professional support early if you’re having difficulties.
For those already managing mental health issues, continue with your treatment plan and monitor for any new symptoms.
Social contact and maintaining routines can be supportive for our mental health and wellbeing. In circumstances where this is not possible, staying connected with friends and family online or by phone may assist.
The following resources are available to everyone, and have been suggested by SA Health and Beyond Blue. Please use them and share them around.
Telephone and online based supports
- Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 www.beyondblue.org.au
- Lifeline Australia 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au
- Regional Access Program (country areas) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 1300 032 186 https://saregionalaccess.org.au
- Lived Experience Telephone Support Service (LETSS) 5pm – 11:30 pm (a peer mental health support line)
1800 013 755 www.letss.org.au
For people under 25 years of age
- Youth Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
- eheadspace 1800 650 890
For people experiencing significant mental health impacts or those who need more immediate support
Mental Health Triage – 13 14 65
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (country and metropolitan areas)
Things that you can do to maintain positive mental health
Most people will manage with the support of family and friends, but others may need some extra help to keep things on track. If you notice a change in the way that you, or others around you, are thinking or feeling, there are things that you can do to maintain positive mental health:
- Maintain your normal daily routine
- Connect with family and friends and other supports in your community
- Look after yourself through exercise and regular healthy meals
- Don’t over-indulge in alcohol or comfort foods
- Ensure you have some time out to relax and unwind and do activities that you enjoy
- Talk with your doctor or a counsellor if needed
It’s important to remember that medical, scientific and public health experts around the world are working hard to contain the virus, treat those affected and develop a vaccine as quickly as possible.
Access good quality information
It’s important to get accurate information from credible sources such as those listed below. This will also help you maintain perspective and feel more in control.
- Australian Government coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert
- Health Direct – Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- smartraveller.gov.au – travel information for Australian citizens
- World Health Organization – coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
Contact your GP for an appointment to consider whether a mental health treatment plan for access to low cost or no cost counselling services would be helpful.
Crisis Text Line: Anxious about coronavirus? Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor.
Diamond House: Diamond House is a community mental health program which operates using the International Clubhouse model guided by 37 international standards that supports individuals who have the lived experience of mental illness.
Gentle Care: Gentle Care provides affordable and reliable services for the elderly, children (youth and teens) and art therapies.
MOSH Australia – The aim of MOSH is to cater for the needs of those at risk of self-harm and suicide and those bereaved through suicide.
Sane Australia – Phone, Online Counselling & Peer Support
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Talk Out Loud Australia: At TOL their mission is to foster the physical, mental and emotional well-being of each individual they encounter using peer to peer mentoring, shared stories and lived experience. They encourage young people in particular to find their voice and change their life.
Virtual Psychologist – If it’s too hard to talk, just text
Young Blood Podcast – Young Blood is on a mission to get young men and the women in their lives talking about their mental and physical health. They’re here to create deeper connections, inspire and build resilience through sharing our stories.
Kids Helpline (5-25 years) 1800 551 800
MensLine Australia 1300 789 978
Veterans & Veterans Families Counselling Service 1800 011 046
National Sexual Assault, Domestic & Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732
Mental Health Assessment & Crisis Intervention Service (ACIS) 13 14 65
For more organisations, head over to the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia https://www.mhcsa.org.au/our-members
Australian Government Department of Health
The Department of Health has developed a collection of resources for the general public, health professionals and industry about coronavirus (COVID-19), including translated resources.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides reliable information about the coronavirus such as its symptoms, steps you can take to protect yourself, and what to do if you are affected.
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization provides information and guidance regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease.