27 March 2020
Beyond Blue recognises and understands the feelings of anxiety, distress and concern many people may be experiencing in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and offers the following wellbeing advice.
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.
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 if it is upsetting you or your family.
It’s important to get accurate information from credible sources such as those listed below. This will also help you maintain perspective and feel more in control.
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.
The Australian Psychological Society has advice about maintaining positive mental health during the outbreak.
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.
There are a number of ways to support your mental health during periods of self-isolation or quarantine.
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, and in a way that is appropriate for their age and temperament. It is important to listen to any questions they may have, to let them know that they are safe and that it’s normal to feel concerned.
If the media or the news is getting too much for them, encourage them to limit their exposure. This video has some useful tips for talking to young people about scary stuff in the news.
If you are experiencing financial hardship, National Debt Helpline offers free financial counselling.
Health care workers may feel extra stress during the COVID-19 outbreak. This is a normal response in these unprecedented circumstances. 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:
It’s important the general public recognises the pressure that health systems and workers themselves are under and takes steps to support them where possible. Following government advice about ways individuals can help slow the spread of the virus will support the health care workers who are saving lives and keeping people safe.
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:
For those already managing mental health issues, continue with your treatment plan and monitor for any new symptoms.
Social contact and maintaining routines can be supportive for our mental health and wellbeing. In circumstances where this is not possible, staying connected with friends and family online or by phone may assist. Beyond Blue also has a dedicated page on its forums about coping during the coronavirus outbreak.
Acknowledge feelings of distress and seek further professional support if required.
The Beyond Blue Support Service offers short term counselling and referrals by phone and webchat on 1300 22 4636.