Ahead of World Mental Health Day, mental health Australia research has revealed 74% of healthcare professionals have found restrictions resulting from COVID-19 outbreaks have negatively impacted their mental health and wellbeing.
Around 86% of respondents said working in healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic had increased the amount of stress and pressure they experienced in the workplace.
However, the majority (58%) said they were feeling more positive about the future and felt they were better able to cope now, compared to working under pandemic conditions last year.
Over half (56%) of healthcare professionals were fed up, exhausted, and disappointed with their state’s latest lockdown and restrictions, and 41% said they have been to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or counsellor to discuss their mental health.
Mental Health Australia conducted similar research in September 2020 when Australia was six months into the COVID-19 pandemic.
Comparing the research results, there was an increase in family and friends being extremely supportive of them during the pandemic.
According to the results, 66% of survey respondents indicated family support which was a 12% increase from last year’s figures. While just over a third (34%) of healthcare professionals said they had reached out to a trusted friend or family member for mental health support, an 8% increase on last year’s figures.
Catching up on favourite TV shows (55%), exercising outdoors (50%), eating well (44%), reading for fun (34%) and connecting one-to-one with a family member or friend through shared walks or exercise outdoors (26%), are just some of the ways healthcare professionals have been managing their mental health and wellbeing in 2021.
CEO of Mental Health Australia, Dr Leanne Beagley, said it had been a difficult time for everyone, especially those working on the healthcare frontline.
“Healthcare professionals are the most health-literate members of our society, and the gravity of a pandemic situation weighs heavy on their mental health.
“The aim of World Mental Health Day this year is to encourage everyone to look out for each other, look up and look forward in the midst of this pandemic, and to hear that people are hopeful for the future and better prepared to cope, is a real positive, but that doesn’t mean our job is done.
“The mental health impacts of the pandemic will have a long tail, for months and years to come, as the peak national body for mental health in Australia our role is to ensure the system and service delivery reform that has been discussed and reported on, is delivered.”
Follow the Mental Health Australia campaign via social media using the hashtag #LookAfterYourMentalHealthAustralia or find out more at lookafteryourmentalhealthaustralia.org.au