The ABC has launched an initiative to raise awareness and support for the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians, to help those struggling with the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, bushfires and drought.
From 5-11 July, ABC Your Mental Health, in partnership with Lifeline and Kids Helpline, will support thousands of Australians struggling with issues such as anxiety, depression and stress during these challenging times.
With many people feeling their mental health has worsened this year*, the ABC will deliver trusted content across its television, radio and digital services, such as ABC iview and listen, to show all Australians that small changes can make a big difference to their wellbeing, including:
- Mental health monologues by prominent Australians – including Hamish Blake, Steph Tisdell and Benjamin Law – for ABC iview, ABC social media and The Drum.
- ABC Local Radio’s happiness exercises, comedy festival highlights, “joy drops” and “Your Good Vibrations” listener polls of the songs that make them happy.
- Wellbeing and mood music on Double J, triple j Unearthed and ABC Classic.
- Interviews and tips on ABC social media channels, including Sammy J’s happiness exercises and Cuppa with Kumi and ABC Health features on Instagram.
- Specialist RN content, including fitness challenges on Life Matters and Sporty.
- Landline reports on “care farms” and equine therapy in regional areas.
- ABC Science digital explores young people’s mental health, while Compass looks at an initiative to combat intergenerational issues, including mental illness.
- Information and analysis across ABC News digital and broadcast, including News Breakfast and 7pm bulletins.
- ABC Arts’ No Time For Quiet documentary about girls following their passion for making music.
- iview’s Your Mental Health collection includes Man Up and The Agony of the Mind.
ABC Managing Director David Anderson said the national broadcaster was committed to doing all it can to help Australians be healthy and well, inside and out. “With so many people saying their mental health has worsened of late, they are looking to the ABC to help them through these unsettling times,” he said.
“Even as restrictions ease, the psychological aftershocks of coronavirus will linger for months to come. ABC Your Mental Health, in partnership with Lifeline and Kids Helpline, will raise awareness about issues affecting all Australians and drive a national conversation about how they can look after themselves and each other.”
John Brogden, Lifeline Australia Chairman, said: “The ABC’s emphasis on the importance of connection will help save lives. We can never underestimate the power we have to connect with another person and the positive difference that can make. I congratulate the ABC for encouraging Australians to maintain their wellbeing and continue to reach out to those around us.”
Craig Scarr, National Marketing Manager of yourtown (which provides Kids Helpline), said: “Kids Helpline has been hit with rising demand for counselling services during the coronavirus pandemic, with children and young people contacting the service with issues around mental health, emotional wellbeing and physical health concerns.
“Being involved in Your Mental Health with the ABC will enhance awareness about these issues by providing resources to help children and young people manage the psychological effects of the pandemic and a looming recession.”
For more ABC Your Mental Health content, visit abc.net.au from 5 July.
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* The ABS Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, released in May 2020, found that loneliness was the most widely reported source of personal stress for Australians during April, affecting more women (28%) than men (16%).
*A study by the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, released in May 2020, found a substantial increase in levels of psychological distress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among young Australian adults aged 18 to 34.