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Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

Beyond Blue offers the following wellbeing advice if you are experiencing feelings of anxiety, distress and concern in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

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. This will also help you maintain perspective and feel more in control:

· Australian Government coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert

· Health Direct – Coronavirus (COVID-19)

· – travel information for Australian citizens

· World Health Organization – coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

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.

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 and remember that those with the disease have not done anything wrong.

Managing your mental health while in self-isolation or quarantine

Remind yourself that this is a temporary period of isolation to slow the spread of the virus. Remember that your effort is helping others in the community avoid contracting the virus.

· Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues via email, social media, video conferencing or telephone

· Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing

· Keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy foods

· Try to maintain physical activity

· Establish routines as best possible and try to view this period as a new experience that can bring health benefits

· For those working from home, try to maintain a healthy balance by allocating specific work hours, taking regular breaks and, if possible, establishing a dedicated work space

Seek support

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or stressed by news of the outbreak. We encourage people who have experienced mental health issues in the past to:

· Activate your support network

· Acknowledge feelings of distress

· Seek professional support early if you’re having difficulties

· For those already managing mental health issues, continue with your treatment plan and monitor for any new symptoms

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

You can find out more information about looking after your mental health via their website here.