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Making time for your mental health a priority for Christmas

21 Dec 2020
The National Mental Health Commission (The Commission) today urged all Australians to prioritise making time for their mental health and wellbeing as we face a new phase of pandemic related challenges for Christmas and summer.

National Mental Health Commission CEO, Ms Christine Morgan, said yet again we are being challenged by COVID-19, this can be tough. We are understandably tired and fatigued after 11 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, on top of bushfires, floods and drought. Many for the first time in their lives are dealing with mental health challenges.

“Now more than ever we need to reach out to each other, to give each other much needed emotional and mental health support. If you or a loved one is finding it too challenging, we urge you to seek help from a mental health professional using one of the many free 24 hour phone or online support services, or to contact your GP.

Hundreds of thousands of Australians have sought support and treatment for mental health over the past 11 months. Nationally over the past four weeks to 13 December, Lifeline, Kids Helpline and Beyond Blue together have answered 114,879 calls for support, and 1.1 million Medicare subsidised mental health services were delivered in the same period.

“For many Australians who live with mental ill health and illness or the impact of trauma, you already know how to prioritise your mental health needs. We urge you and your carers to refresh or update your plans today in light of new NSW and Sydney COVID-19 health order restrictions.”

Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Household impact of COVID19[1] reported last week:

  • 1 in 5 (21%) Australians reported experiencing high or very high psychological distress (25% of women and 16% of men)
  • More young Australians (18-34 years) experienced high or very high psychological distress (32%) than 35-64 year olds (17%) or those aged 65+ years (9%).

Compared to August 2020, in November 2020, fewer Australians reported feeling at least some of the time:

  • nervous (30% in Nov 2020 vs 46% in Aug 2020);
  • everything was an effort (26% vs 41%);
  • restless or fidgety (24% vs 41%), hopeless (15% vs 24%);
  • so sad that nothing could cheer them up (12% vs 17%); and
  • worthless (11% vs 16%).

“Self-care, and care for our loved ones and neighbours, is crucial during this time. Please follow government health advice to keep each other physically healthy while prioritising our mental health and wellbeing needs,” said Ms Morgan.  

“Check-in with each other regularly, maintain exercise, have regular sleep, reduce screen time, and stay connected to friends and loved ones. We know how to do this and we know how to make time for our mental health.”

[1] ABS, Household impacts of COVID-19 (data 13 – 23 Nov 2020), released 14 Dec 2020

National FREE 24/7 Crisis Services

Lifeline | 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service | 1300 659 467 
Kids Helpline | 1800 55 1800 
MensLine Australia | 1300 78 99 78
Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service | 1800 512 348

For general mental health information