With the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, we’ve seen changes in people’s behaviour to protect their physical health, but we are also seeing the impact of the virus on people’s mental health.
It has been stressful and frightening for many, particularly for those who already experience anxiety or for those who have physical conditions that may increase their vulnerability to the virus.
Below are some tips that may help you take care of your mental health in the wake of the outbreak.
- Stay connected – reaching out to friends, family and helplines can help keep you connected with others who might be able to talk with you about what you’re feeling.
- Refer to reputable sources for information – government websites, like the federal Department of Health, NSW Health or Smartraveller, are a good place to get information that is factual and practical.
- Be kind to yourself and others – it’s understandable to feel distressed or overwhelmed; it’s also important to not let our fears make us treat others poorly because of their ethnicity and that illnesses can affect anyone regardless of nationality or other attributes.
- Take a break – some news or social media may spread misinformation and a lot of it can generally be quite overwhelming, so taking some time away from social media in particular can help give you space to recharge.
- Follow official advice – the situation is a rapidly changing one, so things may change. At the moment in NSW, we are advised by the NSW Government to practice physical distancing, which includes staying home as much as possible and leaving only for essential travel; grocery stores, petrol stations and other essential businesses will remain open so there’s no need to panic buy things.
For those who are anxious about the financial impacts of COVID-19, the Australian government has also announced a number of financial supports to those who have been affected, alongside boosts to other parts of the economy, and many employers are working with their employees to support them to stay at home.
It is good to be up-to-date with the alerts and statements being shared by NSW and Australian governments, as the situation is a changing one. However, there is no need to be panicked, though it might feel difficult. This situation we find ourselves in is unprecedented but we, as a community, are in this together.