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It's Mental Health Week!

This week is Mental Health Week 2020 – an event that gives us all a chance to reflect on the enormous challenges this year has brought with it for Victorians.

"At that the beginning of the year we experienced devastating bushfires and once we began recovering from those as a community, we were hit with a worldwide pandemic," says Austin Health’s Divisional Director of Mental Health, Hannah Bloom.

Hannah says it's been a year of extreme struggles which have impacted our emotional wellbeing and mental health.

“We’ve seen an increase in mental health presentations and have seen first-hand how hard this has been on our community,” says Hannah.

Hannah explains there is no shame in admitting that 2020 has taken a toll on your mental health.

“It’s been a prolonged period of restrictions for Melbournians. I know I’ve had moments of feeling frustrated and missed my family and friends,” she says.

“So many of us have been busy looking after others, but just remember that we can’t look after family and friends if we don’t first look after ourselves.”  

 Hannah says it’s important to take some time and reflect on how you’re going:

  • Pay attention and check in with how you are feeling emotionally
  • Have you noticed that you're feeling more fatigued than usual? Sleeping poorly, feeling irritable? Changes in your levels of anxiety that aren’t manageable or sustained periods of lower than usual mood?  And have you noticed these changes in your loved ones?
  • When was the last time you took leave to rest and recharge away from work?
  • Are you not feeling quite like yourself?

Hannah says that even though we can’t go away on holiday, it’s still crucial to take breaks.

“I’d like to encourage you to take a day off here and there or consider a longer break away from work and do something that you enjoy and takes your mind off work and COVID-19,” she says.

Maintaining exercise, connecting to people who make you feel good, and increasing activities that give you pleasure are all important right now.

If you’re not quite feeling like yourself, Hannah says you should definitely seek assistance. 

“It can be difficult to know where to turn for advice and support, but there are lots of great resources available. Beyond Blue and Lifeline are fantastic starting points," says Hannah.

You can also contact our Triage Service if you'd like to speak to a mental health worker about concerns over your mental health or the mental health of a loved one. 
This service covers all ages and the team will help direct you to the most approproate support for your circumstances.