Psychologists urge Australians to seek support for their mental health during COVID-19

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) has urged Australians to seek the mental health care and support they need during the coronavirus pandemic, stating that now is not the time to shy away from seeking help.

APS President Ros Knight said media reports that half of people are feeling isolated and an even greater number are suffering from stress as a result of the pandemic were unfortunately not surprising.

“As the country’s largest mental health workforce, psychologists are seeing firsthand the toll the pandemic is taking on many Australians.

“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.

“There is no shame in feeling isolated, lonely or anxious right now, and there is no shame in seeking the help that you need.

“For many of us, working with a psychologist – both during and after the pandemic – would be a very sensible move to help protect and support our mental health.

“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.

“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 said.

To find a psychologist suitable to your needs, including those currently offering telehealth services, visit the APS Find a Psychologist service.

The APS has a number of resources available to assist Australians in managing their mental health during the coronavirus outbreak, including advice for maintaining your mental health during social isolation, and tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety.

Visit www.psychology.org.au for more.

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