Almost half of Australians’mental health negatively affectedby COVID says research

September 29, 2021 BY

Two in five Australians have suffered negative impacts to their mental health because of the pandemic according to Red Cross. Photo: SUPPLIED

RECENT research conducted by Australian Red Cross has found that almost half of Australians have had their mental health negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research explains that two in five Australians suffered negative impacts to their wellbeing because of the ongoing pandemic and similar numbers express that Australians feel less hopeful about the future.

The survey of 1013 people commissioned by Red Cross back in July was done as a part of their annual campaign to encourage people in the country to prepare for likely disasters ahead.

These numbers are a worry for the Red Cross’ head of emergency services Andrew Coglan, as the research conducted showed that people do not have preparations in place should another future outbreak of infectious disease arise.

“Some 72 per cent of the people we surveyed said they didn’t believe you can prepare for a pandemic, while 42 per cent said they felt less control over the future than before the pandemic,” Mr Coghlan said.

“We also looked at the effect of compound disasters, or the cumulative effect of disasters on people who have experienced more than one disaster.

“Some 37 per cent of people had lived through more than one disaster in the last 18 months, including bushfires, floods or COVID-19.

“More people who experienced compound disasters reported a negative impact on their mental health, sense of security and safety and sense of hopefulness for the future than Australians who had not experienced more than one disaster.”

There are a number of things people can do to regain a sense of control and prepare for the inevitable disasters ahead according to Mr Coghlan.

There are also four steps outlined by Australian Red Cross to help anyone prepare for any emergency.

These include:
GET IN THE KNOW: about your risks, where to get information, and how to manage stress
GET CONNECTED: by identifying emergency contacts, meeting places, and people who can help
GET ORGANISED: with important documents, medical information, insurance and pet plans, and
GET PACKING: with a list to help you survive and personal items that are important to you.

“The better prepared people are, the better their experience of a disaster is when it hits, and the better their recovery,” added Mr Coghlan.

For more resources on how to be better prepared, which includes creating your own emergency plan, head to redcross.org.au/prepare.