April ABS report finds that loneliness key stressorApril ABS report finds that loneliness key stressor

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New pandemic-influenced modes of living have taken their toll on households nationwide, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reporting loneliness as the most frequently reported stressor in a new survey focused on COVID-19.

The third ABS Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey showed 28% of women and 16% of men had feelings of loneliness, while 19% of participants also faced difficulty dealing with issues relating to health and fitness.

“[It] was more of a problem for those aged 18 to 64 years (22%) than those aged 65 years and over (9%),” ABS Program Manager for Household Surveys, Michelle Marquardt, said of people’s health concerns.”

A part of the survey, which covered a period stretching from early April to early May, showed just over a fifth of those surveyed mentioned eating more snacks like chips, lollies and biscuits, while a little under a sixth reported that they were consuming more alcohol.

Meanwhile, almost 60% of respondents discussed spending more time engaged with television, computer and phone screens.

Concurrently though, around 10% of respondents said they were consuming less booze, nearly 30% were relying less on take-out food options, and almost 40% of people were cooking or baking things themselves at home.

Other findings showed the availability of Telehealth was met positively by the public

“During the period from early April to early May, one in six Australians aged 18 years and over (17%) used a Telehealth service. Almost half (43%) said the Telehealth service was a replacement for a previously arranged face-to-face appointment,” Ms Marquardt said.

Findings between late April and early May showed the community had remained conscious of the pandemic, though these figure dropped slightly in March’s survey, with 94% of respondents keeping distance from other people, compared to 98% in March.

Residents have also begun to back away from purchasing additional household (21%) and medical (8%) supplies, down from 47% and 29% respectively in March.

Forty six percent of respondents were working from home, with nearly 90% of those who couldn’t saying the nature of their work prevented them from doing so. Additionally, women (56%) remain more likely than men (38%) to work from home.

The ABS plans on reporting on further information about COVID-19 over the coming months.

For those who want to discuss their mental health, both Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636) and Lifeline (13 11 14) are available 24/7.