Beyond Blue has set up a free 24/7 Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service to help those suffering stress, anxiety and mental ill health caused or exacerbated by the crisis.
Recognising the need for Australia’s mental health care system to better help those affected by the pandemic, the national organisation has also pledged its support of the government’s recently launched National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan, created to improve mental health services through increased collection and sharing of data.
“We went into this crisis with a mental health system in need of profound change,” says Beyond Blue CEO Georgia Harman. This view is supported by psychiatrist Professor Patrick McGorry who recently told Nine News “we’ll see a big surge in the need for care for people suffering mental health problems and the mental health system is not prepared for it yet”.
While Harman acknowledges there has already been some changes, she believes our mental health care system should match support options to people’s needs, deliver rapid access to services and support, and provide solutions outside the traditional health system, “in homes, schools and workplaces – and to build up new workforces”.
“The anticipated rise in demand for mental health support over the longer term offers an opportunity to invest in peer workers and mental health coaches, and in a range of high and low intensity options that work,” she says, adding that “clear communication is going to continue to be essential”.
For Jirsch Sutherland’s We Care mental health program, clear communication is key to effectively maintaining a supportive workplace with employees who know how to offer and access the right support to colleagues, clients and referrers.
Although the program was created a year before the crisis struck, it will be adapted to deliver targeted support to those struggling with mental health as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, while continuing to provide vital education on mental health and awareness and proudly supporting Beyond Blue.
Access Beyond Blue’s free 24/7 Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au and on 1800 512 348 where you can talk to mental health professionals trained in the pandemic response. You can also access Beyond Blue’s existing free 24/7 support service on 1300 224 636 and at beyondblue.org.au/get-support/get-immediate-support 3pm to 12am AEST.
“Chicken soup” for sole traders affected by coronavirus
Prompted by the predicted increase in suicide rates due to the economic and social impacts of COVID-19, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell has released a free online mental health webinar for sole traders.
The aptly named Chicken Soup for the Sole Trader webinar is presented by Garry Mills, a Beyond Blue ambassador and sole trader who has trained elite athletes, run complex security operations in Australia and overseas, and been the bodyguard for an ex-Prime Minister (you’ll have to watch the webinar to find out which one).
Mills shares a candid and relatable account of his own experience with depression and his strategies for boosting his mental health such as having a set routine, getting outdoors and being active, making time to fit in experiences that make him feel good, and practising mindfulness and meditation. Garry also provides his trusted resources for helping sole traders impacted by COVID-19 including ASBFEO’s My Business Health and Beyond Blue’s dedicated 24/7 Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service.
“His unique story is proof that depression doesn’t discriminate,” says Carnell. And as Mills points out, neither does a global pandemic like the one we’re experiencing.
At just over 12 minutes and packed with easy, doable tips that can help save lives and businesses, watching Chicken Soup for the Sole Trader is time very well spent.