National advocacy group Beyond Blue has issued advice on ways for the public to look after their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a variety of support services and guidance available both online and on the telephone.
Among the options is a new webpage, Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak, which provides information about self-isolation, how to convey information about the event to children, as well as advice for healthcare workers and those seeking support.
Other resources that are available include the organisation’s COVID-19 focused discussion forum, Coping during the coronavirus outbreak, which the organisation said has attracted more than 2000 visitors a day, while they also noted that a quarter of the inquiries to their support services have made specific mention of the coronavirus.
The organisation also recommended maintaining good sleep routines and healthy eating, participating in physical activity where possible, clearly defining a work space and break schedule while working from home, and for people to consume fact-based information and limit social media and news exposure if it’s upsetting them.
Beyond Blue Chair and former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard AC, encouraged those who needed help to seek it out.
“These are uncertain times and the challenges ahead will test us as a nation, but we cannot let fear and panic divide us,” Ms Gillard said.
“By coming together, by following official advice and by showing compassion towards those around us, we will get through this.”
Meanwhile, Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman said her organisation wanted those needing help to get in touch sooner rather than later, anticipating that a growing number of people will attempt to make contact.
“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.”
Beyond Blue Support Services include a 24/7 phone hotline (1300 224 636), with web chat (available from 3PM to Midnight AEST) and email response (with a 24 hour response time) also available at beyondblue.org.au