This information has been produced in collaboration between the Australian Government and the MindSpot Clinic and was posted on the Department of Health's Head to Health website. During this time, it’s important to do things that help us to cope and maintain good mental health. Here are some ideas. 1. Remember who you areMost people are good, kind, and sensible. They care for others and the environment and want to make the world a better place. These reflect important ‘values’. Stressful times can make it challenging to act in the way that is aligned with our values. But, even when feeling stressed, remember who you are, and what you believe in. Remember to be gentle, kind, and respectful to yourself and to others; other people are probably as stressed and worried as you are. By reaching out and supporting others you will not only be helping them, but also doing something that will help you to feel good about yourself. 2. Get informed with the right informationWe are ‘hard-wired’ to react to possible threats to ourselves, our families and our communities. These reactions can keep us safe from possible threats. But at times, our reactions may also be excessive and unhelpful, and may cause significant stress and worry. Relying on news from mainstream media or social media, which may sensationalise or exaggerate issues, can further increase our stress and anxiety.
One way to manage our reactions is to access the ‘right information’, that is, information we can trust. Consider only accessing trusted sources of information (e.g., ABC Radio, Australian Government Department of Health website, World Health Organisation website, etc). 3. Understand historyEvents like infectious diseases often follow a predictable course. In the past 50 years there have been multiple national and international episodes of concern around conditions such as tuberculosis, SARS, Ebola, HIV, hepatitis, measles, to name a few. Initially, there is often skepticism, followed by attention, followed by panic, followed by reality, followed by a return to normality. Stock markets and supermarket shelves are good indicators of where we are in the course. Reminding yourself of these patterns can help you to understand the course and plan for the future. 4. Get organisedA good antidote to stress and worry is to get active and organised. If you are worried about something, then do something. Make plans and write your list of what you need to buy, organise, or set-up, and get on with doing it. Tick off each item and turn your ‘To Do’ list into a ‘Ta-Da’ list. Whenever you recognise you are getting stressed, ask yourself, 'What do I need to do to help manage this situation?’ Remember that family or friends are also likely to be stressed and might need help getting organised. Talk with them about your plans, and if possible, help them to get organised. 5. Balance your thoughtsWhen we get stressed about our health or risks of infection our thoughts can become dark, brooding, and pessimistic. Thoughts like, “How will I cope if I get sick?”, “I can’t deal with this”, are often triggered by stress, but they don’t help us. Negative and dark brooding thoughts will stop you doing things that can help. Remember, our thoughts are not always true or helpful. Challenge your negative thoughts by asking yourself what a friend would say in the same situation, or ask yourself what evidence do you have that you ‘won’t cope or can’t cope’? Whenever you recognise a negative thought balance it with a realistic thought. 6. Shut down the noiseStress is infectious, and often unhelpful. People tend to talk about things they are worried about; this create lots of ‘noise’, which can create even more stress. Give yourself permission to switch off ‘noise’ such as social media, news, or even radio for most of each day. Also give yourself permission to excuse yourself from people who are creating stress. Keep checking in to reliable news sources once or twice a day, but otherwise, turn down the 'noise'. Instead, replace it with things that can help you, including doing things you enjoy, listening to music, entertainment, games, or even meditation. 7. Keep healthy routinesWe all have routines in our daily lives. For example, we tend to get up at a certain time, brush our teeth in a certain way, get ready for the day’s activities, and follow many other routines until we go to sleep at night. Major events naturally create changes in routines, particularly if we can’t do some of our usual activities. We know that our emotional health is strongly affected by regular routines; these routines not only help to get us organised, but give us a sense of achievement and accomplishment. Some of our routines involve other people, who also benefit from them, for example, family mealtimes or get-togethers with friends. Spend some time thinking about the routines that are important to you and those around you, and find clever and safe ways to keep up these routines or create new ones during this time of physical distancing. 8. Stay engagedAnother key strategy for keeping good mental wellbeing is to stay connected and engaged with people and activities that are meaningful. Reflect on what these are for you and schedule time in your routine to keep doing them. You will have to modify how you stay connected, for example, using Skype or Facetime instead of face-to-face visits. Examples of how to stay engaged include speaking to family, using online forums and chat groups, or calling people. Remember that people really appreciate engaging with others, even if this hasn’t been planned or can't be face-to-face. 9. Do the things that you enjoy and that are good for youWhen we are stressed we tend to avoid doing things that we normally do, including things which are good for our mental health. We all have activities and hobbies which we enjoy and which give us pleasure. Even if we can’t do those things in exactly the same way due to quarantine or isolation, it is essential that we make time and effort to do things that we find valuable and meaningful and fun. Making a plan to do fun things regularly will give you something to look forward to, which is another key strategy for staying mentally healthy. 10. Keep looking forwardRemember the famous saying, ‘this too shall pass’. In addition to maintaining your long-term goals, also think about things that you will do each day and week, which you can and will enjoy. Again, try and bring others into your plans - members of your family, friends on Skype/Zoom/Facetime etc; they might also benefit from thinking about the future.
CORONAVIRUS: aps OFFERS ADVICE
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, psychologists have sought to reassure the public by providing advice to help prevent people from becoming overwhelmed.
APS President Ros Knight said it is reasonable and understandable that people are concerned, but panicking is not a helpful way to respond.
“As humans, we are hardwired to be afraid of the unknown and of something that appears random and uncontrollable. If you find yourself becoming anxious about coronavirus, try to remember that medical and scientific experts are following strict protocols to contain the virus and treat those affected.”
“Exposing yourself to a constant stream of negative information takes a huge psychological toll. Avoid reading social media posts that warn of an apocalypse and don’t get drawn into doomsday discussions. Sticking to the facts and relying on scientific sources (see a list below) for your information is the best way to maintain perspective and manage your feelings positively.”
“Remain calm and practical and continue with your usual regime, as much as you can. Observe good hygiene habits, like washing your hands and avoiding close contact with people who are unwell and, if it makes you feel better, wear an appropriate mask in public.”
Ms Knight added that parents and caregivers need to be aware that the situation might be having an effect on children.“We know that children absorb information from the news, social media, and discussions adults have around them. Some children have been excluded from school. Parents and caregivers may need to carefully explain to their children why they can’t go to school or why one of their friends is not there.”
Research shows that being open and honest with children is the best way to help them cope with serious situations. Sharing the news will help children to not feel excluded, imagine the situation is worse than it really is or, even, blame themselves. Sharing information shows that you trust and value them, which can enhance their resilience.”
“Try not to overload children with too many details. Give small amounts of information, wait and then ask if they have any questions,” she said. ********************************************************************************************** More detailed advice on How to Talk to Your Child about Coronavirus, can be found here. ********************************************************************************************** Official Sources of Information Department of Health advice for health practitioners and the publicThis alert is updated daily with the latest medical advice and official reports
Department of Health (Coronavirus) COVID-19 resourcesA collection of resources for the general public, health professionals and industry about coronavirus (COVID-19), including translated resources Department of Health Coronavirus Health Information LineCall this line if you are seeking information on novel coronavirus. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 1800 020 080. Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt’s media centreMinister Hunt’s latest media releases, speeches and transcripts Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Chief Medical OfficerChief Medical Officer and Deputy Chief Medical Officer news updates about coronavirus (COVID-19) Local state and territory health departmentsFor questions about testing or the welfare of people with the virus, contact your state or territory health authority.
BeyonD blue bushfire mental health resources
5 Ways Yoga Can Benefit Your Mental Health
Yoga is no longer considered a solely “holistic” approach to improving mental health and well-being—in recent years, it's gained a scientific following, and has extensive research behind it to support its benefits.
For instance, yoga has been shown to help with the following: read on at Psychology Today....
Mental Health Matters workshops run for 4 hours, online courses take 90 minutes. Locations, dates and times of courses are outlined on the Red Cross booking page.
Who should attend?Everyone in the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Lithgow and Penrith areas is invited to come along. People and communities affected by drought and bushfires are particularly encouraged to attend.
Why should I attend a Mental Health Matters course? To find out how to maintain wellbeing and resilience in yourself and others If you find you are getting stressed or anxious and would like to cope better If you have a loved one who seems to be anxious, or has told you they feel depressed, and you'd like to know how to cope more effectively If you are dealing with a crisis situation or feel you may be in the future If you would like to know where to go to get further mental health support, assistance or resources.
NEED HELP TO BOOK?Call Australian Red Cross on 1800 733 276 / firstname.lastname@example.org
This activity has been funded by Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network, as part of the Australian Government’s Empowering our Communities initiative.
An army of volunteers is needed to help land owners with judicious weed removal. This will help burnt habitats recover more quickly, providing expanded, healthy habitat for native fauna. Read more in The Conversation.....
- still feels upset or fearful most of the time
- shows changes in behaviour compared to before the trauma
- has difficulty with usual day to day activities
- has worsening relationship problems
- seems to be having problems with alcohol or drug use
- feels jumpy
- has sleep problems that weren't there before the trauma
- keeps dwelling on the event
- seems unable to enjoy the things they used to
- feels numb or withdrawn