The mental health issues associated with COVID-19.
Hello again! How good was it to be able to catch up with friends and family over the past week? For us, being able to run some outdoor classes was so refreshing and innately made us happy! It reiterated how much we crave human interaction and why we love group training!
I think we have all gained a new perspective and appreciation for life 'pre COVID'. After being forced into isolation and having to drastically change the way we do things, it has become apparent that we may have taken some things for granted.
So as restrictions continue to be eased and we re-integrate back into society, some health practitioners are worried about a second wave of mental health presentations. Statistics have revealed that a large proportion of vulnerable people have really struggled over the past few months. "In March, Australia's national crisis support service Lifeline answered almost 90,000 calls, an increase of 25 per cent over the same time last year. (https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2020-04-30/coronavirus-mental-health-second-wave-impacts-of-pandemic/12197930).
With one third of the country being vulnerable or already suffering mental health issues, this unprecedented time with unpredictability and high stress levels has really tipped some people into new episodes.
Consequently, we have seen a drastic increase in demand for mental health services. However, whilst the demand has increased, at the same time there was a drop in community-based care and ED presentations. People were afraid to go to hospitals to seek help and clinics were not as accessible as what they were previously. To further compound the lack of support, outlets for vulnerable people such as community support groups and being able to attend a gym to exercise were also taken away. It prompted authorities to be very concerned about people living at home who are really suffering with limited access to help. These short term issues became very problematic however health care professionals are worried about the long term implications of the pandemic.
History shows us that in past epidemics, people and communities rally together during the crisis (I think we have definitely seen this happen in the Macedon Ranges). However, it is months and years afterwards that the impact of the pandemic can be at its greatest. We know that some of the top risk factors for poor mental health are loss of employment and poverty. With the economic downturn now really starting to show, this is going to have a huge impact on many peoples livelihoods.
I think it's also important to note however, that whilst there have been many deleterious effects of COVID, there are also some positives. According to psychologists, “Families are spending more time together, eating dinner together, having more quality time and doing fun things together they would not have done if it weren’t for this. I think people are reprioritizing their values and their activities and what’s important to them, and people may not go back to the busy kind of life we had......” (source https://www.enidnews.com/news/local_news/mental-health-effects-expected-to-long-outlast-covid-19/article_a0a850a7-276d-549c-9798-f50c6069c2c1.html).
Anyone relate to this?
So now that access to services are slowly starting to reopen, it's vital that if needed, you speak to a professional. Your GP is a great point of contact who can refer you to other allied health services should it be required. Nobody should suffer in silence and by speaking up and talking about mental health, hopefuly we can encourage those that are vulnerable to seek help.
Being proactive about your own mental health by eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, avoiding the use of alcohol and drugs, meditating and speaking up about any concerns you have to people you feel comfortable with, can also really help in promoting positive mental health.
We are really excited to have 3 outdoor sessions running this week because we know how important exercise is in supporting good mental health. We love seeing you catchup with one another again and we now also have the luxury of catching up for coffee post workout as the local cafes open their doors for table service again. All of these activities can really brighten your outlook and give you a much needed surge in our happy hormones!
Things are looking a little brighter, lets all work together and keep an eye out for each other :)