Looking after your mental health during coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions

The impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, physical distancing and isolation can make us feel anxious, stressed and worried. Read about what you can do to look after your mental wellbeing and look out for those around you as we tackle these challenges together.

Why it’s important to look after your mental health during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly changed the way we live. To help keep us safe, it is likely that our lives will be different for a while.

When we aren’t able to see our friends and family regularly, it can be harder to keep on top of how we’re feeling.

Being aware of how you’re feeling and knowing what you can do to look after your mental wellbeing is an important part of staying healthy during this challenging time.

Get help now

If you need help right now, it is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere in Australia.

In an emergency, call 000.

Lifeline

Contact Lifeline for support if you are experiencing a personal crisis or have suicidal thoughts. You can call them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from anywhere in Australia.

Lifeline 24-hour crisis line
Postal addresses: 
PO Box 173
Deakin ACT 2600

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Kids Helpline contact

Kids Helpline provides a free, private and confidential phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25. The service is available 24 hours a day from anywhere in Australia.

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Suicide Call Back Service

Call the Suicide Call Back Service for immediate, professional 24/7 telephone and online counselling to people who are affected by suicide.

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Beyond Blue Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service

Beyond Blue are providing information, advice and strategies to help you manage your wellbeing and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hotline

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How we might be feeling and why

On top of the concern we’re all feeling about the health impacts of a virus like this one, COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down.

All of the things we’re used to doing each week — going to school and work, catching up with friends and family, going out for dinner, playing sport, going on holidays — have changed.

Many people have lost their jobs and there is uncertainty about how COVID-19 will affect jobs and the economy into the future.

And for people working in health care and essential services, work pressures have never been greater.

Under these circumstances, it’s normal to feel anxious, overwhelmed, confused, sad or even bored. But these feelings can take their toll, and we all need to take the time to care for ourselves and to look out for our friends, family and colleagues.

What you can do

There are things you can do to take care of your mental health and wellbeing.

Look after your physical health

Exercising and eating well help us stay physically and mentally healthy. Read more about how you can stay physically active while following physical distancing rules, and find tips on eating well at home.

Getting a good night’s sleep is a really important part of staying healthy. If you’re finding it hard to get to sleep, these tips might help.

Stay connected

Maintaining social connections is important to feeling safe and well.

You can still keep in touch with family and friends while you practise physical distancing through:

  • video chats
  • phone calls
  • online groups
  • chats with neighbours while keeping 1.5 metres apart

Develop new routines

We’re used to having routines to guide our days and give us a sense of achievement. When so much seems out of our control, establishing some structure in our days will help to provide stability and a ‘new normal’.

This is particularly challenging for families adjusting to home learning. Try to create new routines as a family to help separate ‘work and school time’ and ‘family time’.

Think about the parts of your usual routine you value the most and find ways to make these part of your day — such as having lunch with colleagues via video chat, or finding an online gym class.

Take breaks

Be kind to yourself and take time just for you, even if it is just a few minutes to take some deep breaths and step outside into the fresh air.

Plan your breaks and use them to do something that makes you feel calm and happy.

Reach out to others

Some people are particularly vulnerable for different reasons. They may be older, live on their own, have a chronic medical condition, or live in a challenging home situation.

Reaching out to give people support, if you are able, can help your mental wellbeing and make a big difference to someone else’s life.

Seek support

It’s normal to have ups and downs, and it is important to talk about how you’re feeling with family and friends. In times like these, they are likely experiencing similar feelings.

If you want to talk to someone else, but aren’t sure where to start, there are lots of great online and phone chat support services available. Head to Health is a good place to begin, and Beyond Blue has launched a dedicated coronavirus online and phone support service.

But if you are feeling anxious or depressed for an extended period, see a health professional.

Doctors and other health care providers such as psychologists are consulting via video or phone. Find out more about telehealth options.

Related information

Find out how to access health services and get medicines during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Read about Australia’s National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan. It responds to the mental health and wellbeing needs of all Australians during the response and in recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan has been developed under the co-leadership of Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Government and has been informed by all jurisdictions.

Staying informed

It’s important to stay up-to-date with the facts, but constantly tuning in to news about COVID-19 can be overwhelming, confusing and increase anxiety.

Remember that incorrect information is easily shared, particularly via social media. Get your updates from trusted sources, such as government websites in Australia, including Australia.gov.au and health.gov.au.

To stay up to date on COVID-19:

You can also join our WhatsApp channel or use our COVID-19 app.

Australian Government WhatsApp channel for COVID-19

Join our COVID-19 WhatsApp channel to learn the latest on Australia's response to coronavirus (COVID-19). If you're already a WhatsApp user you can send a message to the channel to connect. If you don't have WhatsApp, download the app to join the channel.

Coronavirus Australia app

Stay up to date with official information and advice about the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. You can check your symptoms and get notified when urgent information and updates are published.

Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources

A collection of resources for the general public and industry about coronavirus (COVID-19).

You can also find information at:

Contact

If you are distressed, check the Head to Health website for:

  • links to mental health online and phone support
  • resources and services that can help if you’re experiencing mental health concerns or trying to support someone else

See more mental health contacts

National Coronavirus Helpline

Call this line if you are seeking information on coronavirus (COVID-19) or help with the COVIDSafe app. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National)

TIS National is for people who do not speak English and for agencies and businesses that need to communicate with their non-English speaking clients.

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Last updated: 
22 May 2020

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