Our industry is well aware of the immediate health and economic threats of the COVID-19 pandemic. The AAAA is proud of how its members have moved quickly to protect the wellbeing of their businesses, their workers and their communities. However, it is important that while we persist and push through, that we regularly take stock of the less obvious threats of the pandemic which could derail our future success – such as impacts on mental health.
While you may feel like the immediate impacts on your businesses and employees warrant more attention right now, it is important for you to keep tabs on your mental health as you navigate through this period of unprecedented stress and uncertainty. By proactively taking care of yourself as well as your business and your employees, you can best set yourself up for long-term success on the other side of COVID-19.
The Australian Government’s Head to Health service has provided a range of tips and resources which you may find helpful when it comes to maintaining your mental health in the current environment – some of these are provided below and you can find more detailed information by visiting www.headtohealth.gov.au
What can I do right now?
If you are concerned about your mental health or just want to improve your wellbeing, there are lots of things you can do right now. Finding useful information, downloading apps and chatting online with peers and professionals are a few initial steps you can take. Everyone’s situation and needs are different, so what is useful right now will vary from one person to the next. Digital mental health resources can often be just as effective as talking to someone face-to-face. So if you are not comfortable talking to someone in person, that may be the way to go.
- Take action early
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle
- Get the relevant information
- Connect with people
- Get the support you need
Accessing mental health support
Despite the variety of help-seeking options and the benefits they can bring, research shows that less than half of Australians who need mental health support in any year receive it.
It is natural to be reluctant to seek help. Some of the common reasons people avoid seeking help include: not thinking a problem is serious enough to act on, not understanding the symptoms and treatments, and concerns about stigma attached to mental illness. If you like solving problems on your own, you may see help-seeking as a weakness – which it is not. None of these reasons should stop you from seeking help and it is important to remember that getting help early can make a real difference.
There is a wide array of support services available, delivered in a range of formats to suit your needs. From phone lines to email and webchat services, online forums and websites, or talking to your GP or other professional service providers, there is no shortage of options.
In the next section of this article you will find a comprehensive list of resources you may find helpful. If you don’t know where to begin, you can always call Lifeline (13 11 14) to talk to someone and they can help you to figure out what to do next.
The Australian Government’s Mental Health Commission has created a comprehensive list of resources you and your friends, family and/or employees may find helpful when it comes to the topic of mental health. Please see below for this resource list and for more information from the Commission, visit www.mentalhealthcommission.gov.au
- #InThisTogether – The Commission has worked together with leading mental health organisations, experts and spokespeople to develop a national online conversation sharing practical tips to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australians during #COVID19.
- Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service – a dedicated website with information, advice and strategies to help manage your wellbeing and mental health during this time.
- WHO COVID-19 Mental Health Considerations – for the public, health workers, parents and people in isolation.
- Head to Health – a dedicated landing page for mental health information to help you and your loved ones cope with feelings resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.
- RUOK? has shared a message on the importance of staying connected and how to recognise the signs that someone may be struggling.
- ReachOut has developed resources and practical tips to help young people look after their wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as specific tips for parents about how to talk to teenagers about COVID-19.
- headspace has developed tips for young people on how to cope with stress related to Coronavirus.
- SBS has Coronavirus health and mental health information for those that speak a language other than English.
- Beyond Blue has a dedicated COVID-19 online forum for people to share their concerns and connect online to support one another.
- SANE have an active online forum focused on unpacking fact from fiction about COVID-19 and providing self-care strategies.
- eFriend is a free virtual peer support service where you can access 6 sessions with the same peer worker to support your mental health and wellbeing.
- ReachOut has online youth forums and online parents forums for COVID-19 offering peer support in safe and established online communities.
24/7 Support Phone Lines
- Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Line: 1800 512 348
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36
- MensLine: 1300 78 99 78
- Suicide Call Back Service :1300 659 467
- Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
Don’t forget: you can also get help from a local GP or health professional. For information about accessing telehealth services and obtaining a mental health plan, speak to your local GP and support team.