Australians urged to take care of their emotional health during COVID-19

Psychological health experts are urging Australians to seek the mental health care and support they need during the coronavirus pandemic via a new Community Services Campaign launched today.

Australian Psychological Society (APS) President Ros Knight said the campaign was in direct response to the psychological pressures placed on people by the pandemic and the Federal Government’s recent move to make psychological services more accessible to more Australians during the crisis.

“As the country’s largest mental health workforce, psychologists are seeing first-hand the toll the pandemic is taking on many Australians,” Ms Knight said.

“With unprecedented lockdowns and social distancing in place, Australians are restricted in a way they never have been before.

“Our usual way of life has changed significantly, and as a result many of us are feeling a sense of loss and increased isolation. Add to this the stress and anxiety associated with job losses, financial issues and of course the concern that our loved ones may fall ill with the virus, and it is not surprising our mental health is being impacted,” she said.

However, Ms Knight said Australians should not let distance or stigma stop them from seeking the support of a psychologist throughout this challenging time.

“The good news is many psychologists are now offering telehealth consultations by video and telephone, including to clients who have a Mental Health Treatment Plan under Medicare,” she added.

The Medicare-subsidised video or phone consultations are designed to give people safe and easy access to professional psychological care without risking their health or the heath of psychologists to the COVID-19 virus.

At this stage, these services will be available until 30 September 2020.

“Now more than ever we have an opportunity to open up the dialogue about our mental health, and to work together to further tackle the stigma associated with seeking help for our mental health issues,” she said.

The campaign features a series of Community Service Announcements (CSAs) informing the public of how to protect and support their mental health during this time.

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