Headspace Ipswich acting senior intake clinician Fleur Martel (right) and community engagement co-ordinator Caitlin Lyons.
Headspace Ipswich acting senior intake clinician Fleur Martel (right) and community engagement co-ordinator Caitlin Lyons.

Managing our mental health in a COVID-19 world

ALMOST twice as many adults have reported feelings associated with anxiety in the past four weeks as people adjust to the changes that come with the coronavirus pandemic.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics compared results from its Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey to the ABS 2017-18 National Health survey and found people aged 18 to 64 years were nearly twice as likely as those aged 65 and over to experience nervousness or restlessness at least some of the time.

With limitations on movements associated with coronavirus restrictions, only 48 per cent of Australians were seeing friends and family outside the home compared to the results from the 2014 General Social Survey, which were 76 per cent.

Many were using alternative ways to stay in touch while in lockdown during the first two weeks of April.

"Two thirds of Australians (65 per cent) increased their frequency of non face-to-face contact with family and friends outside of their household, most commonly via audio-only calls (92 per cent), text and instant messaging (86 per cent), and video calls (67 per cent)," ABS Program Manager for Household Surveys Michelle Marquardt said.

 

Headspace Ipswich acting senior intake clinician Fleur Martel (left) and community engagement co-ordinator Caitlin Lyons.
Headspace Ipswich acting senior intake clinician Fleur Martel (left) and community engagement co-ordinator Caitlin Lyons.

Headspace Operations Manager Johanna Dore said the service worked quickly to adapt to the changing climate while still offering its services to the people of Ipswich by moving online and over the phone.

Ms Dore said Headspace's 7 healthy tips, including staying active, cutting back on alcohol, setting small goals, and learning new skills for tough times, were all applicable to isolation life.

"The three main things in terms of self-care at any time, but are also very pertinent at the moment, would be to eat well," she said.

"Try and stay away from foods that aren't necessarily very good for you. Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and good protein.

"Getting exercise and whether that's outside or doing a little home workout. Just getting up and getting active can really influence your mood in a positive way and in a short amount of time.

"Practising good sleep hygiene is really, really important. Try to get off all screens for an hour before bed and doing another activity that's really calming and relaxing.

"I think also try to maintain regular sleep patterns, perhaps if someone is out of work or their routine has changed significantly, try to maintain that sleep pattern that you would normally have, so going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time."

 

Help is always available if you need it:

Headspace: 3280 7900

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636