Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

Beyond Blue recognises and understands the feelings of anxiety, distress and concern many people may be experiencing in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and offers the following wellbeing advice.

Try to maintain perspective

While it is reasonable for people to be concerned about the outbreak of coronavirus, try to remember that medical, scientific and public health experts around the world are working hard to contain the virus, treat those affected and develop a vaccine as quickly as possible.

Find a healthy balance in relation to media coverage

Being exposed to large volumes of negative information can heighten feelings of anxiety. While it’s important to stay informed, you may find it useful to limit your media intake if it is upsetting you or your family.

Access good quality information

It’s important to get accurate information from credible sources such as those listed below. This will also help you maintain perspective and feel more in control.

Conversations with children and young people

Families and caregivers of children and young people should discuss news of the virus with those in their care in an open and honest way. Try to relate the facts without causing alarm, and in a way that is appropriate for their age and temperament. It is important to listen to any questions they may have, to let them know that they are safe and that it’s normal to feel concerned. If the media or the news is getting too much for them, encourage them to limit their exposure.

Try to maintain a practical and calm approach

Widespread panic can complicate efforts to manage the outbreak effectively. Do your best to stay calm and follow official advice, particularly around observing good hygiene habits.

The Australian Psychological Society has advice about maintaining positive mental health during the outbreak.

Try not to make assumptions

To contribute to a sense of community wellbeing, try to remember that the coronavirus can affect anyone regardless of their nationality or ethnicity.

Seek support

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by news of the outbreak, particularly if you have experienced mental health issues before.

Where possible, it can help to maintain normal routines. It can also help to stay in touch with friends and family, eat a balanced diet and stay physically active.

Acknowledge feelings of distress and seek further professional support if required.

Beyond Blue has fact sheets about anxiety and offers other practical advice and resources at beyondblue.org.au.

The Beyond Blue Support Service offers short term counselling and referrals by phone and webchat on 1300 22 4636.

You can find more information about well-being, quarantine and managing self-isolation here.

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