It is normal to feel stressed and worried where there is an outbreak of an infectious disease like COVID-19.
Health events like these can cause uncertainty and anxiety which can impact our mental health and wellbeing. This is especially common during the early stages of an outbreak when there is commonly a lot of uncertainty about the nature of the disease, its scope and potential impact.
This emotional distress is understandable and can affect anyone who is concerned about the virus, while people who are in quarantine, people at higher risk of severe illness and people who have been diagnosed with coronavirus may have deeper concerns.
For most people the distress is tolerable and short-lived and can be improved with care and support from families and the community, while others may require professional support and specialised mental health support to stay on track.
Staying mentally healthy and taking care of yourself and your family during infectious disease outbreaks is important and can help you and your family manage emotional distress.
The most important things you can do to protect yourself and others are:
- Stay at least 1.5 metres away from others when outside your home.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm, running water. Use alcohol based hand sanitiser when out.
- Stay at home if you are unwell and always cover coughs and sneezes.
- Get tested for COVID-19 if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms.
- Be aware of, and follow, current gathering, business and travel restrictions.
Other ways to help you stay healthy and calm include:
- maintaining your normal routine
- talking to your family and friends about your worries and concerns
- engaging in enjoyable activities and hobbies
- limiting alcohol and other comfort foods
- using the Tasmanian Government and Australian Government COVID-19 websites to get the information you need. Too much focus on negative media can have a negative impact on your health.
Coping with quarantine
If you are in quarantine, help to keep your spirits up by:
- maintaining a normal daily routine as much as possible
- staying connected with friends and family through social media and over the phone
- making time for exercise
- using your time at home to complete work if that’s possible for you
- taking advantage of the time to relax and read a book.
See Quarantine to understand what to expect, how to look after yourself and others, and where to get help.
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
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:
- Australian Government Department of Health
- National Coronavirus Helpline: 1800 020 080
- Public Health Hotline: 1800 671 738
COVID-19 will challenge our personal and community resilience, and community recovery will take some time. If we look after ourselves and each other, stay informed and stay calm, we will continue to adapt and respond in a positive way.