A new survey has revealed large numbers of Australians are feeling seriously troubled by the impacts of COVID-19, as Beyond Blue launches a renewed push to support the nation’s mental health and wellbeing.
The CEO of Beyond Blue, Georgie Harman, said that many people found it hard to express what they were feeling as Australia entered a new phase of living alongside COVID.
‘The pandemic and the transition to living with COVID are affecting us all in different ways and it’s understandable if you’re a little unsure about what to feel right now, or if you’re feeling a few different things at once,’ said Ms Harman.
Beyond Blue commissioned a survey of 1600 people from around Australia from October 15 to 27, as restrictions began to ease. More than half of the respondents said the pandemic had negatively affected their mental health.
Further results show one in four felt worried or restless, one in five were finding it difficult to engage with others, and one in three felt unmotivated and found it hard to perform daily tasks.
Among those who hadn’t used a support service in the past year, more than a quarter of respondents said they hadn’t done so because they felt like other people needed support more than they did, or they didn’t feel comfortable seeking support.
From this month, a new early intervention initiative called Mixed Emotions will appear on radio, digital channels and streaming services, reassuring people that mixed feelings are common and encouraging people to reach out to the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service.
Hope despite exhaustion
Georgie Harman said people were feeling exhausted after two years of rolling uncertainty and stress, but also hopeful for the future.
‘You’re certainly not the only one experiencing mixed feelings right now; these emotions make sense given the major adjustments we’re having to make. But that doesn’t mean you have to manage those feelings alone,’ said Ms Harman.
‘It’s not at all uncommon for first-time callers to our services to feel unsure or awkward about what they should say, or to worry that someone else needs the call more than they do.
‘So we want to reassure people that you don’t have to have the perfect words. Our empathetic counsellors can help you make sense of how you’re feeling. Just talking things through can make you feel less alone, give you some practical advice, and contribute to better mental health.’
Ms Harman said it was important to focus on prevention and early intervention to support Australia’s mental health and wellbeing.
‘Feeling unsettled doesn’t mean you’re unwell – it means that you could benefit from a few strategies and tools to get you through a tough time. You don’t have to manage these ups and downs on your own. There are steps all of us can take to stay mentally healthy and prevent mental health issues from developing,’ she said.
‘As tough as this pandemic has been, we’ve all learned so much about our mental health and wellbeing. Let’s take those lessons forward through the transition to living with COVID and beyond. The Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service offers self-guided support, immediate free counselling, and pathways to longer term support and help in a crisis.’
Beyond Blue supports the mental health of all Australians with a range of services and supports. This includes The Way Back Support Service for those recovering after a suicide attempt, online peer support forums, as well as prevention and early intervention initiatives such as Mixed Emotions.
The Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service delivered by Beyond Blue exists alongside the ongoing Beyond Blue Support Service.
Support for all
‘Beyond Blue is here for everyone, no matter who you are, where you’re from or what you’re feeling. You can call if you’re worried about someone else. You don’t have to be in crisis to call us. It’s never too late and it’s never too early to start looking after your mental health,’ said Ms Harman.
The Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is freely available on the web at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au, or you can ring 1800 512 348.
A short promotional film about Mixed Emotions: