There's help out there.
As we return indoors for a second wave of lockdown, it’s more important than ever that you keep your mental health top-of-mind.
While we experienced a short but sweet taste of normality, seeing friends and family at cafes and bars, exploring the great outdoors and indulging in beers and footy at a mate’s place, the return to lockdown rules hit us for six, changing the way to interact with our support networks.
In these times of isolation and uncertainty, it can make us feel anxious, stressed and worried, and it can be quite difficult to take time out and process it all.
If you’re feeling down, there’s plenty of free resources and organisations that can help, and 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.
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 is 131 114
The Lifeline Text is also available from 6pm to midnight (AEST) on 0477 13 11 14
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.
You can reach them via 1800 512 348 or live chat.
QLife is Australia’s first nationally-oriented counselling and referral service for people of diverse sex, genders and sexualities. QLife provides nation-wide, early intervention, peer supported telephone and web based services to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people of all ages.
Call 1800 184 527 (3pm – 12am (midnight) every day) or chat online to QLife.
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.
Call 1800 551 800 if you need to chat.
Online and telephone support service that helps young people who don’t feel ready to attend a headspace centre or who prefer to talk about their problems via online chat, email or on the phone. The website also has information and services to support a young person going through a tough time.
1800 650 890
The National Coronavirus Helpline
Trained mental health professionals are available to talk to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, via phone, webchat and email, and can help you with anything related to Coronavirus.
Phone 1800 020 080
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.
Call 1300 659 467 if you need help.
ReachOut Forums is a supportive, safe and anonymous space where people care about what’s happening for you, because they’ve been there too. The website is also there to help figure things out and make life better, offering information and other resources designed specifically for young people.
Wherever you are in Australia, you can call 1800 RESPECT for confidential information, counselling and support on sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse.
You can call 24-hours a day on 1800 737 732.
MensLine Australia is a national support, information and referral service for men across Australia, specialising in family and relationship concerns. MensLine Australia provides 24/7 telephone counselling, online chat and video counselling. This is complemented by a comprehensive website with information, resources and an online forum.
Counsellors provide confidential, professional, and male-friendly support.
Call 1300 78 99 78 (24 hours a day) or chat online and over video to MensLine
PANDA supports women and their families who are suffering from perinatal anxiety or depression, and can provide advice and assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reach them on 1300 306 726.
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.
Call 131 450
Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN)
CLAN offers support to people who have grown up in Orphanages, Children’s Homes, Missions and Foster Care in Australia and New Zealand, or whose parents or other family members had this experience.
Call on 1800 008 774
Alongside these resources, The Australian Government will also provide 10 additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions for people subjected to further restrictions in areas impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
People will have to have a Mental Health Treatment Plan and a review with their GP to access the additional sessions. This will allow them to continue to receive mental health care from their psychologist, psychiatrist, GP or other eligible allied health worker. You can find out more about that here.
What else you can do
There are some things you can do to take care of your mental health and wellbeing alongside reaching out to the numbers above.
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.
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, and chats with neighbours while keeping 1.5 metres apart.
You can read our article about ways to connect with friends during the second lockdown here.
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’.
While we are in physical isolation, there are things we can adapt to our lives at home. For example, if socialising helps your mood, schedule a virtual coffee. If going to the gym helps you reduce stress, try an online workout. If taking time out helps, find a quiet place, take a few deep breaths or listen to music. Whatever helps to settle your mind, do it.
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.
Choose a check-in buddy
If you feel you need to keep yourself accountable, a check-in buddy can help. This may be your partner, housemate, or even a friend or colleague you’re keeping in touch with via video messaging. Be honest about how you are coping.