Your mental health is important
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected our lives in many ways – as we stay home to slow the spread of the virus, we may feel lonely and isolated due to limited connection with others in our community, or be working through other challenges.
You may feel worried about loved ones and be managing new responsibilities such as working from home and home schooling, studying online, or you may currently be out-of-work. With uncertainty about the future, it is understandable to feel distressed and anxious. This is natural.
If these feelings are interfering with your daily routine, or if you feel overwhelmed, it is important to ask for help. Encourage friends and family to seek assistance too, if needed.
This could be the first time you have these feelings, or you may have an existing mental health condition. Seeking support from a trained professional can help to manage these feelings and put some strategies in place to help you cope.
What should I do?
If you or a loved one is feeling overwhelmed or finding life difficult, it is important to ask for professional help from someone who is trained to look after peoples’ mental health and wellbeing. They can help you to manage any feelings or mental health problems by putting some coping strategies in place.
Get help early as some challenging issues can turn into more serious conditions if they are not addressed quickly.
Most people with mental health issues access mental health services through their general practitioner (GP) or primary care provider. People with more serious symptoms may be referred to specialist mental health services.
It is important to talk to someone about how you are feeling by:
- Talking to your general practitioner (GP). If your GP thinks you need extra support, they may prepare a Mental Health Care Plan. These plans give you access to allied health professionals (such as psychologists) through Medicare. Your GP can also make a referral to a private psychiatrist or a public clinical mental health service if required.
- Contacting a mental health telephone, text or online counselling service or a general counsellor. These services can provide you with targeted information and referrals. There are a number of services and resources listed below.
Clinical mental health service
Clinical services (also called area mental health services) focus on assessment and treatment of people with a serious mental illness. These services are managed by general health facilities, such as hospitals.
Public clinical mental health services are in high demand. These are available for people with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis, severe anxiety or depression, and other disabling mental illnesses. These illnesses may cause significant emotional, behavioural and/or cognitive (thinking) disturbances and concerns regarding risks to yourself or others.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website provides information on mental health services for children and adolescents, adults and aged persons and other specialist state-wide services including how to access your local triage services.
If you are accessing these services for the first time is important to see your GP first, where possible.
In an emergency where there is immediate risk of harm to a person, call 000.
Digital mental health is available
If you need immediate support, want to keep things private, or are finding it difficult to access services, you may like to contact a mental health telephone line, SMS messaging service or online counselling service or a general counsellor. Most services are staffed by people trained to deal with mental health issues.
These services can provide you with targeted information and referrals.
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Reviewed 18 May 2021