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Supporting you through the COVID-19 global health crisis

Courtney Moane

It is no surprise that the current COVID-19 global health crisis has meant that the mental health and wellbeing of many Australian’s is being affected.

While it is incredibly important to stay informed with what is happening right now it is imperative to make sure you are looking after yourself and your loved ones.

Last month the Australian Government announced a $74 million mental health response to COVID-19 in which the National Mental Health Commission introduced several measures that would ensure that all Australian’s could get the mental health support they need 24/7.

According to a recent survey by YouGov, more than half of Australians are stressed due to the current health crisis – with 63 per cent of women and 51 per cent of men reporting the feeling of uneasiness and anxiety.

The report found that 77 per cent of the 2085 respondents felt stressed that they were unable to see their family, 61 per cent had grave concerns about not being able to pay their bills and 49 per cent feared losing their job.

Furthermore, 48 per cent were in fear of not being able to feed their family and 38 per cent were stressed about losing their home.

Lifeline suggest some strategies to help you to combat the feeling of anxiety and stress:

  1. Recognise when it’s getting too much – look out for signs of stress and reach out for support when things become overwhelming for you.
  2. Talk – release your emotions by talking to someone you trust, that could be a parent, sibling, friend or mentor. Talking can put things into perspective and releasing negative feelings is the first step to dealing with the situation positively.
  3. Take care of yourself – try and eat well, exercise and sleep – give yourself extra time to do the things you enjoy.
  4. Get help – don’t be afraid to reach out and admit that you are struggling, it’s okay to not be okay.
  5. Consider professional help – while traditional forms of help are not available during this period if you are feeling heightened anxiety for a prolonged period seek professional help. Services such as Lifeline are here to help you.

Lifeline encourages anyone who is experiencing heightened anxiety, emotional distress or needs a confidential talk with someone who will listen without judgment to contact them by phone on 13 11 14 or chat to a Crisis Supporter via text on 0477 13 11 14 from 6pm to midnight, 7 days a week.

COVID-19 will have financial impact on many Australian’s including Lifeline, Headspace and other charities – your support is more important than ever, if you are in the position to donate please head to:

www.lifeline.org.au/donate

www.headspace.org.au/get-involved/donations

Griffith University Student Guild’s Program Officer Madeleine Storey provided an overview of what the university is offering its students in terms of support.

Ms Storey saying how Griffith University was quick to respond to the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic by the quick and efficient transition of an array of already existing support services to an online delivery to cater to new and emerging needs of students during the global health crisis.

These new services included:

  • One on one sessions with Student Support and Advocacy Manager about personal or university related matter that students may need assistance with.
  • Guided transitions to a fully online Assignment Help service.
  • Zoom meeting option for all Assignment Help sessions.
  • Updating and promoting emergency financial support packages to assist students in financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.
  • The introduction of a 5-week online Wellness Workshop Series aimed to prepare students for the mental challenges that could result from the worlds new ‘normal.’

They are currently offering a telephone support line run by the Griffith University wellness warrior volunteers and a team of qualified staff. The Student Support Solutions promotes peer to peer connection meaning that it provides benefit to students whom of which are volunteering as well as those who are on the receiving end of the phone call who may be struggling and need someone to talk too.

The Student Guild is also offering an online volunteering program in which students can make a positive impact to the vulnerable and effected communities during this trying time, in retrospect also giving students a purpose and a proactive approach to their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One volunteering program is that of The Henley Connection. The Griffith University Student Guild partnered with the local Henley aged retirement village where students can interact with other members of the community and combat elderly isolation.

George Carter, a Masters of Speech Pathology student recently participated in The Henley Connection.

“On Tuesday I met with one of the residents for a thirty-minute Zoom call. At first, I was very nervous but excited to meet the lady I was paired with, but as soon as I saw her, I knew we would have a lovely chat. It was so interesting to hear all about her family, travels, and interests, she had a great sense of humour. It turned out we had a lot in common and the time went so quickly. I felt happy and full of energy for hours after our talk. I was so pleased to hear that she enjoyed our conversation too.”

Mr Carter said he encourages everyone to get involved in The Henley Connection and other online volunteering programs and he himself is looking forward to his next Zoom call.

If you or someone you know is struggling due to the current COVID-19 situation, please do not hesitate to contact any of the following either by phone call or online:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Headspace: 1800 650 890

Mental Health Emergency Response Line:

Metro: 1300 555 788

Peel: 1800 676 822

Country/ Rural link: 1800 552 002

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467And, Men’s Line Australia: 1300 789 978

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This initiative is proudly supported by the following industry partners

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About the Social Impact Projects

The Griffith University Social Impact Projects address five significant social justice issues faced by vulnerable communities. Expanding on the work done by Project Safe Space, and Project Open Doors, the Griffith University Social Impact Projects bring Community Partners, students and the University together to work collaboratively in the innovative solution design sprints. Initially designed to address Mental Health and Wellbeing of Griffith students, we soon realised this was a much larger issue intersecting across a number of social justice issues for students and the wider community. The Social Impact Projects aim to contribute in some small way to improving these social issues.