Ways to take care of yourself during the global pandemic

Young Australians urged to look after their mental health

The world is in a state of panic due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and it's natural to feel overwhelmed and stressed by it all but know you’re not alone.

Around Australia, people of all ages from high school and university students through to the elderly are going through the same thoughts of uncertainty and anxiety, which is why services like ReachOut and Beyond Blue are ready to help during these trying times.

In response to the growing number of calls and emails about COVID-19, Beyond Blue has developed the “looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak” website, which includes tips about coping with self-isolation and information about support-seeking.

Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman said staying connected with friends and family would be vital in maintaining good mental health as the pandemic continued to impact our daily lives.

“We expect that there will be more demand for mental health support as the health, social and economic consequences of COVID-19 play out and we would encourage everyone to reach out early,” Ms Harman said.

“Remember, you’re not alone and support is available. The Beyond Blue Support Service is available around the clock, by phone or online, and our online forums are moderated by people who understand and care.”

Ms Harman said there were simple steps you could take to look after your mental health, even in times of physical distancing and self-isolation, including:

  •  Staying connected with family and friends. If you can’t do it face-to-face, maintain contact through email, social media, video conferencing or phone calls.
  •  Keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy foods.
  • Try to maintain physical activity – even just going for a walk can help. 
  • Stick to the facts. Misinformation can fuel feelings of anxiety, so it’s important to seek information from credible sources such as government and health department web sites.
  • Limit your exposure to social media and news if you find it upsetting.

 If you are working from home, maintain a healthy balance by allocating specific work hours, taking regular breaks and, if possible, establishing a dedicated workspace.

"Young Australians are not immune to the COVID-19 crisis" - Ashley de Silva
 Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people ReachOut has also developed a portal to help you cope during the global pandemic.

The portal includes ways to take care of yourself during the crisis, how to deal with uncertainty and bad news, creative ways young people are coping with COVID-19 and forums for young people to discuss their own experiences and seek help from friends.

ReachOut CEO Ashley de Silva said their online mental health service was well-placed to support young Australians.

“Young Australians are not immune to the COVID-19 crisis,” Ms De Silva said.

“Many are facing a number of uncertainties including increased stress and financial pressure at work and home, the closure of schools and universities, and feelings of isolation from their social groups, particularly as sport and extra-curricular activities shutdown. Young people are telling us that they need support.

“In a world where we are being urged to stay home, ‘socially’ distance and in some cases self-isolate; the opportunity to maintain connection via this strong online community is more important than ever.”

Mental health professionals are available on the Beyond Blue Support Service via phone 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or via  www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support for online chat. Help is also available from ReachOut.