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19 February 2021
Our community is adaptable, strong and resilient.
Divisional Director Mental Health, Hannah Bloom says that even though we’ve all been so resilient during the pandemic, it's ok to feel vulnerable and to feel challenged by everything that’s happening in the world right now.
“We must acknowledge just how quickly things can change from day-to-day during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It can often feel like getting the rug pulled out from underneath us.
“Even though this lockdown was short, it was still a reminder of how exhausting the last lockdown period was.
“It’s very normal to struggle with some feelings of low mood or anxiety during these times,” Hannah says.
Hannah knows just how frustrating these times are but wants to remind you to continue to look-out for one another and remember to always be kind.
Strategies to help you feel better
Hannah says that seeing what’s happening around the world now can make you feel quite despondent, but it’s important to remember that Australia is managing the pandemic very well, and that Austin Health is doing an excellent job.
“We’re also in a position where we’ve learnt a lot of lessons from around the world and from the last time we had a spike in cases. We’ve planned how to respond to these periods and know how to deal with them.”
Hannah also finds it helpful to practice gratefulness for what we have, and for the good things in our lives.
“I’m grateful for the good weather, and being able to go out and enjoy some sunshine, particularly when I think of my relatives in England who are in the middle of a long lockdown and where it’s currently snowing.”
She also recommends doing more of the things that give you pleasure.
“For me that’s baking and running, so I make sure at times I feel extra stressed, I do more of these things that bring me pleasure or a sense of achievement.
“We also know that exercise helps with your overall mental health, so doing something like Austin Health’s 1000 Minute Challenge is also a great idea."
When to seek help
Hannah says that even though it’s normal to have some feelings of anxiety at times, it’s important to seek help if they continue to persist.
Some of the signs you should look out for include:
Signs to look out for in adolescent children during this time
Hannah says that Victoria has seen a 40 per cent increase in adolescent eating disorder presentations during the pandemic.
She says this alarming statistic is understandable when young people are faced with a loss of freedom and opportunity and can be extremely worried about what is happening around the world.
“The expectations they had of where they were heading has been pulled out from under them, whether they were trying to complete studies or couldn’t see their friends, international travel is not an option for them at the moment and there is uncertainty when it comes to entering the job market, which can lead to a feeling of loss of control.”
If you have an adolescent in your life that is becoming increasingly withdrawn or you notice a marked change in their behaviour or their eating patterns, it’s important to reach out for help.
“Early mental health intervention is so important,” she says.
Where to seek help:
Hannah says it can be difficult to know where to turn to for mental health advice and support, but that there are lots of great resources available.
In the first instance she encourages you to talk to a trusted friend or family member.
Hannah also recommends Head to Help as a great starting point. Head to Help has been established to help Victorian’s have an easier way to navigate and access mental health support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you or anyone you know needs help: