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  • Stephen Scott Johnson

Tip #4 - Your mental health matters

It’s fair to say we all experience situations differently. If you’re in Melbourne, hopefully you are coping with lockdown 2.0 as well as possible. Be mindful, though, there are people all around us who are really struggling.

So many things are happening right now that can and are contributing to people’s feelings of negativity, despair, hopelessness and anxiety. Here in Victoria, as the daily coronavirus cases continue to increase and reality sinks-in that life is likely to be far from ‘normal’ for at least another six months – I want to urge you to make your mental health a priority.

‘Be kind to your mind’ and ‘RUOK’ are just some of the phrases you might often hear in relation to mental health, and it may be that seeking help from a therapist is far from your usual go-to when it comes to making sure you are okay. But according to sources, mental health support groups claim they are being swamped with an approximate 20 percent jump in pleas for help in Victoria since Melbourne's stage three and four restrictions began.

Job loss, financial pressure, family stress, health concerns, and panic on a global scale, can be ‘the perfect storm’ for anxiety and depression.

More than 400 people have taken their own lives this year in the State of Victoria – more than the number of lives lost to Coronavirus. I cannot stress enough how important it is to ensure that you are okay. More than ever, many of us are supporting our families physically, mentally, energetically and financially. And with minimal human interaction and inability to connect with loved ones in-person on a regular basis, it can be equally tough supporting yourself through such isolation.

The Australian Government recently announced that they have increased the existing 10-hour Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions with an additional 10 hours – a total of 20 hours of support for anyone in Victoria who is struggling.

There are also other support groups available, including but not limited to:

- www.psychologytoday.com.au is an online directory to assist you to find the right therapist depending on your location and needs.

- Lifeline have a dedicated online chat feature, text service and contact number for all Australians experiencing emotional distress with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services – 13 11 14.

- Beyond Blue is working to address issues associated with depression, suicide, anxiety disorders and other related mental illnesses. They have online discussion boards, live chat feature and a 24/7 contact number – 1300 224636.

Not everyone feels deep levels of depression, or experiences never-ending anxiety. Therefore, knowing whether therapy is the right option for you can be tough. It can also be slight moments of sadness or noticing that you are feeling more negative and unmotivated than usual. No matter how severe or how subtle it feels – if you notice it, I encourage you to reach out for help. Importantly, you do not need to deal with any of your worries alone. No matter how big or small, please get the help you need.

As always, I am here for you.

Stephen

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