Looking after your mental health during the pandemic

March 26, 2020 BY

Beyond Blue has compiled a list of wellbeing advice for people who are experiencing feelings of anxiety, distress and concern brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

These tips include –

Try to maintain perspective
While it is reasonable for people to be concerned about the outbreak of coronavirus, try 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.

Find a healthy balance in relation to media coverage
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.

Access good quality information
It’s important to get accurate information from credible sources (such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organisation).

Try to maintain a practical and calm approach
Widespread panic can complicate efforts to manage the outbreak effectively. Do your best to stay calm and follow official advice, particularly around observing good hygiene habits.

Try not to make assumptions
To contribute to a sense of community wellbeing, try to remember that the coronavirus can affect anyone regardless of their nationality or ethnicity and remember that those with the disease have not done anything wrong.

Managing your mental health while in 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.
Full list available at beyondblue.org.au.

Children and young people
Families and caregivers of children and young people should discuss news of the virus with those in their care in an open and honest way. Try to relate the facts without causing alarm.

Support for those experiencing financial hardship
Many people in Australia are losing jobs, livelihoods and financial stability. For information and services provided by the Australian Government, head to Services Australia. If you are experiencing financial hardship, National Debt Helpline offers free financial counselling.

Health care workers
Health care workers may feel extra stress during the COVID-19 outbreak. Such feelings are not a sign of weakness and it’s important to acknowledge this. There are practical ways to manage your mental health during this time, including:
• Getting enough rest during work hours and between shifts
• Eating healthy foods and engaging in physical activity
• Keeping in contact with colleagues, family and friends by phone or online
• Being aware of where you can access mental health support at work
• If you’re a manager, trying to create mentally healthy work structures.

Seek support
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.