Mental Health & WellbeingPosted on 2/04/20
Some mental health tips & strategies to look after yourself and each other
Manage your exposure to media coverage as this can increase feelings of fear and anxiety. Be mindful of sources of information and ensure you are accessing good quality and accurate information. Some useful links at the bottom of this document.
Follow a “calm yet cautious” approach – do your best to remain calm and be mindful not to contribute to the widespread panic that can hinder efforts to positively manage the outbreak. Ensure you are following directives issued by the government, medical advice and observe good hygiene habits.
Show compassion and kindness to one another – these times of fear, isolation (both physical and social) and uncertainty are when it is most important that we strengthen our sense of community by connecting with and supporting each other. Remind ourselves that we can manage this much better together in solidarity, and that COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate – it can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, nationality or ethnicity.
Actively manage your wellbeing by maintaining routines where possible, connect with family and friends (even if not in person), staying physically active, eating nutritious foods and seeking additional support when required.
Managing your mental health while in self-isolation or quarantine
There are a number of ways to support your mental health during periods of self-isolation or quarantine.
- Remind yourself that this is a temporary period of isolation to slow the spread of the virus.
- Remember that your effort is helping others in the community avoid contracting the virus.
- Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues via email, social media, video conferencing or telephone.
- Keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy foods and try to maintain physical activity.
- Establish routines as best possible and try to view this period as a new experience that can bring health benefits.
- For those working from home, maintain a healthy balance by allocating specific work hours, taking regular breaks and establishing a dedicated workspace
Staying connected through the COVID-19 situation
As connection is so important during this time, here are some tips on staying connected to others: remember – we are all in this together.
- If there is someone you think may struggle through social isolation, it is important to reach out to them and let them know you care:
- Voice or video call them to check on their welfare
- Send an email
- Don’t underestimate the power you have to offer hope to another person.
- Get creative with how you interact, here are some ways to stay connected if self-isolating:
- Find a buddy, or group, to set daily challenges with. These could include a healthy habit, a mindful practice, a creative pursuit. Be sure to encourage and check in daily to stay motivated.
- Set dates and times to watch the same TV shows/movies with someone and message each other your thoughts along the way… kind of like Goggle Box but you’re not sharing the couch!
If your local community has one, join its social media group! This will keep you up to date with what’s going on directly around you. It may also include ways you can perhaps reach out and connect with someone less fortunate than you and ways to assist them.
Helping children cope through COVID-19
This is an uncertain time for everyone, and children may be impacted by fear and anxiety. Here are some tips on how to ensure your children are supported;
- Give your children extra attention and reassurance. Where possible, minimise their exposure to media and social media that may heighten anxiety
- Acknowledge your own feelings about the situation and let children know it’s okay to share their own feelings
- Include your children in plans and activities around the house
- If you don’t see an improvement in 4 weeks, or if you’re concerned, seek professional help (earlier if needed)
Reputable sources of information
- Australian Department of Health – http://www.health.gov.au
- World Health Organisation – http://www.who.int
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or stressed by news of the outbreak. We encourage 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.
Acknowledge feelings of distress and seek further professional support if required.
Where to go for support?
It is extremely important to seek out help if you feel you need it. We want to remind everyone that Lifeline is here to offer support to you and listen. Lifeline are committed to ensuring our services continue as normal during this time.
- 13 11 14 will continue to be operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Lifeline Text 0477 13 11 14 will continue to operate 6pm – midnight (AEDT), 7 nights a week
- lifeline – www.lifeline.org.au
- Lifeline webchat will continue to operate 7pm – midnight (AEDT), 7 nights a week
- Kids Helpline – for children that may need support 1800 55 1800 https://kidshelpline.com.au
- Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636 https://beyondblue.org.au