MANAGING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH DURING COVID 19

Information provided by BSMC Psychologist Nicky

The COVID 19 Crises has impacted us in different ways and it is understandable that in such changeable times, our mental health will be impacted.

Many people are faced with the following challenges:

  • Social Isolation and lack of connection to support networks
  • Workplace and financial hardship
  • Trying to support and care for loved ones during times of self-isolation and enforced quarantine
  • Supporting the mental health needs of those you care about
  • Juggling working from home with child care and home schooling
  • Concerns and anxiety about the virus and the spreading of the virus in our community

Such circumstances can lead to distress, anxiety and low mood. It is possible that previous experiences of anxiety may be triggered and mental health issues which you thought you had resolved may have re-emerged.

The Australian Psychological Society have published the following guidelines to help Australians cope with the psychological impact of the virus:

Keep things in perspective

When we are stressed, it is easy to see things as worse than they really are. Rather than imagining the worst-case scenario and worrying about it, ask yourself:

• Am I getting ahead of myself, assuming something bad will happen when I really don’t know the outcome? Remind yourself that the actual number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia is extremely low.

• Am I overestimating how bad the consequences will be? Remember, illness due to coronavirus infection is usually mild and most people recover without needing specialised treatment.

• Am I underestimating my ability to cope? Sometimes thinking about how you would cope, even if the worst were to happen, can help you put things into perspective.

Practise self-care

To help encourage a positive frame of mind, it is important to look after yourself. Everybody practises self-care differently with some examples including:

• maintaining good social connections and communicating openly with family and friends

• making time for activities and hobbies you enjoy

• keeping up a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting quality sleep and avoiding the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs to cope with stress

• practising relaxation, meditation and mindfulness to give your body a chance to settle and readjust to a calm state.

If you feel that the stress or anxiety you or your child experience as a result of the coronavirus is impacting on everyday life, a psychologist may be able to help. A psychologist can help you manage your stress and anxiety using techniques based on the best available research.

If you are referred to a psychologist by your GP, you might be eligible for a Medicare rebate. You may also be eligible to receive psychology services via telehealth so that you do not need to travel to see a psychologist.

Please contact Brooke Street Medical Centre on 5427 1002 to book an appointment with your GP who can refer you to one of the Psychologists based within the clinic. Brooke Street are allocating specific sessions for members of the community who are experiencing challenges due to the Covid 19 crises and are open to new referrals.

Beyond Blue have some excellent tips for us all to consider during these challenging times:

https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au