There are a range of measures people with existing mental health conditions can put in place to support their health and wellbeing through the COVID-19 pandemic. This article looks at the importance of maintaining your support networks.
These are challenging, uncertain times.
It’s completely natural to be feeling fearful or anxious about events unfolding here in Australia and around the world.
If your worries are starting to spiral, it’s really important to lean on your support networks.
We know that this will be a temporary disruption to our lives but reaching out to trusted professionals can help you navigate this difficult period.
Start with your GP. Even if you can’t see them face-to-face, you will be able to speak with them on the phone or online.
The federal government has announced a universal Medicare at home package, extending telehealth services – including GPs, psychologists and psychiatrists – to the whole Australian population.
That means the same rebates you received when seeing your health professional in person will apply if you have a consultation online or on the phone.
Your GP can help you form a plan for how to manage your physical and mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.
They can also review any medications you may be taking and create or review a mental health treatment plan. This can give you access to up to ten subsidised sessions per year with a psychologist, an occupational therapist or a mental health social worker.
If you already see a mental health professional, try to plan ahead and schedule in regular sessions with them for the coming weeks and months to help strengthen you during these challenging times.
Beyond Blue has also set up a dedicated COVID-19 Mental Health Support Service, which can be accessed around the clock.
It can also be useful to connect with others who are experiencing similar issues. Our dedicated online forum topic “Coping during the coronavirus outbreak" provides a safe, understanding place to share how you’re feeling about the virus outbreak and to offer support to others.
The Australian government’s Head to Health page is another good source of information and support during this pandemic.
It covers where to get the facts, tips for maintaining good mental health, information on how to access mental health services and information for parents. It also provides links to free mental health courses online or via app, which may be either self-guided or guided by a therapist.
Reaching out to friends and family during this period can also be a really important pillar of support.
Share with them how you’re feeling and stay connected either online or on the phone.
Follow the links below for more information on the other key measures Beyond Blue has highlighted that will help strengthen and support your mental health through the coronavirus pandemic.