It is normal to feel stressed and worried where there is an outbreak of an infectious disease like COVID-19.
Fear and anxiety about the pandemic can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions – but you need to remember that it’s totally normal, and you are not alone in feeling this way.
Going into quarantine, isolation or lockdown might also feel a bit daunting, but it’s important to remember that it will only be for a short time, and staying connected with your family, friends and community will help a lot.
If you require professional support and specialised mental health support to stay on track – make sure you seek help early!
Your mental health is important
If you or a loved one is feeling overwhelmed or finding life difficult, it is important to ask for professional help from someone who is trained to look after peoples’ mental health and wellbeing.
They can help you to manage any feelings or mental health problems by putting some coping strategies in place.
If you need support, you can access mental health services in the first instance through your general practitioner (GP) or primary care provider.
It is important to talk to someone about how you are feeling by:
- Talking to your general practitioner (GP). If your GP thinks you need extra support, they may prepare a Mental Health Care Plan. These plans give you access to allied health professionals (such as psychologists) through Medicare. Your GP can also make a referral to a private psychiatrist or a public clinical mental health service if required.
- Contacting a mental health telephone, text or online counselling service or a general counsellor. These services can provide you with targeted information and referrals.
Make sure you get help early as some challenging issues can turn into more serious conditions if they are not addressed quickly.
In an emergency where there is immediate risk of harm to a person, call 000.
Digital mental health is available
If you need immediate support, want to keep things private, or are finding it difficult to access services, you may like to contact a mental health telephone line, SMS messaging service or online counselling service or a general counsellor.
Most services are staffed by people trained to deal with mental health issues.
These services can also provide you with targeted information and referrals – see the full list of resources below.
Where to get help
If you or someone you know is finding it difficult to participate in normal daily activities, has lost hope or interest in the future, or is experiencing an overwhelming sense of sadness that is severe or long lasting, then contact your GP.
You can also access a range of telephone and online supports through:
- Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36
- Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14
- Mens Line Australia: 1300 78 99 78
- Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
- Rural Alive and Well (RAW): 1300 4357 6283
For more immediate support for people experiencing significant mental health problems, contact the Mental Health Services Helpline on 1800 332 388.
What can you do to look after your mental health and wellbeing
There are a number of things you can do to help look after your mental health and wellbeing:
- Maintain a healthy diet, exercise and sleep regime.
- Keep the conversation going – talk to loved ones about any worries and concerns you might have.
- Make time to enjoy your hobbies at home.
- Be prepared – ensure you have enough food, supplies and medication on hand. Ask for help collecting these items if needed.
- Avoid or reduce your use of alcohol and tobacco.
- Get reliable and trusted information – make sure you receive information through trusted and credible sources, rather than social media.
- Limit your exposure to media – Too much focus on negative media can have a negative impact on your health, and you or a loved one may feel stressed listening to the news.
IMPORTANT: Seek professional support early if you're struggling or having difficulties. If your life or someone else’s is in immediate danger, please call 000.
While it might feel like you don’t have control of current events, it's important to remember that you can do many things to feel empowered and enabled.
Find opportunities to share positive and hopeful stories with others, generate positive emotions by sharing memories, and show acts of kindness.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic highlights the importance of community and social connections in improving our health and wellbeing.
Make sure you stay connected with your friends and family:
- Staying connected with friends and family at this time can reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation – make sure you chat to your loved ones regularly over the phone or via video call.
- For older Australians, now might be the time to embrace technology. Younger family members can help you get set up and guide you through the process. Give it a go!
- If you are more comfortable with the phone, call friends and family for regular catch-ups.
- Call for support if you need it: see the ‘where to get help’ section below for contact support services.
- The important community updates section on this site
- Public Health Hotline: 1800 671 738
- Australian Government Department of Health
- National Coronavirus Helpline: 1800 020 080
- World Health Organization – coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
- Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
A crisis support service offering immediate short-term support at any time for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe. lifeline.org.au
- Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
A mental health and wellbeing support organisation that provides support related to depression, suicide, anxiety disorders and other related mental illnesses. https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/
- Headspace: 1800 650 890
Headspace offers mental health services to 12–25 year olds, as well as physical health, alcohol and other drug services, and work and study support.
- eHeadspace: 1800 650 893 (9am – 1am, 7 days a week).
Online and webchat support and counselling for 12–25 year olds, their family and friends. headspace.org.au/eheadspace/
- Tasmanian Mental Health Help Line: 1800 332 388. (24hours, 7 days a week).
The TMHHL is a service for mental health advice, assessment and referral, staffed by community mental health clinicians.
- Mensline Australia: 1300 78 99 78 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
Professional telephone and online support and information service for Australian men. https://mensline.org.au
- Mindspot: 1800 61 44 34 (8am – 8pm, Monday to Friday; 8am–6pm, Saturdays).
Free telephone and online service for people with stress, worry, anxiety, low mood or depression. https://mindspot.org.au/
- National COVID Older Persons Information Line: 1800 171 866 (8:30am – 6pm, Monday to Friday).
Information and support for senior Australians, their families and carers.
- Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Free and confidential telephone and online counselling service for young people aged between 5–25. Qualified counsellors at Kids Helpline are available via WebChat, phone or email anytime and for any reason.
Internet service for young people that provides information, support and resources about mental health issues
- Alcohol and Drug Information Service and Family Drug Support: 1800 811 994
- Alcohol and Drug Services (Department of Health): 1300 139 641
- Quit Tasmania: 13 78 48
- Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council Tasmania
- Phoenix Australia
- Rural Alive and Well (RAW): 1300 4357 6283
- Financial and accommodation assistance: Financial assistance, accommodation assistance, and other resources and support services are available from Head to Health: www.headtohealth.gov.au/
- General health information and advice: For general health information and advice, contact healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222 (24 hours, 7 days).
- Emergency relief support: For emergency relief services, including food relief, go to Emergency relief support.
Access reliable information
Accessing reliable information during an infectious disease outbreak will assist you and your family to stay healthy.
For reliable and accurate health-related information go to:
COVID-19 will challenge our personal and community resilience, and community recovery will take some time. But, if we look after ourselves and each other, stay informed and stay calm, we will continue to adapt and respond in a positive way.
Where to get help
Make sure you seek help early if you are worried, feel alone or continue to feel upset about being in isolation/quarantine.
There are many services available – many of which are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week: