The Coronavirus pandemic means a challenging time for us all as individuals, communities, countries and globally. Such a time of uncertainty and threat can be hard for anyone. It can be particularly hard for people who are already living with the effects of previous traumas and anxiety. That’s why it’s important for us to do what we can to look after ourselves and our loved ones. And to support one another to stay as calm as possible and to walk alongside one another through this difficult time as much as we can.
We understand that can be easier said than done but we have very recent experiences of us and our fellow Australians doing just that. During the recent bushfires and the flash flooding which followed we saw communities and, in fact, the whole country unite with a common sense of purpose. That purpose was to help and support our fellow Australians. We evidenced the best of the human spirit – despite and during adversity, people showing remarkable courage and compassion to pull together to help rebuild a safe cohesive community. It was a time of resilience and recovery, with the fresh growth we’ve seen literally sprouting around us and the hope that embodies. Already now we are seeing some incredible efforts from our health and community services, seeking to guide and support us, as we all try and understand the best ways to stay and be safe and well.
Media and social media
As always, the media plays a critical role in keeping us informed. However, the flip side of this is that we are subjected 24×7 to a constant barrage of information, some considered and some less so. The reality is that there are simply some things about Coronavirus that no-one knows. Not knowing is really hard but the good news is that the world’s scientists are collaborating on an unprecedented scale… studying the virus and how to contain it and its impacts, working on a vaccine and treatments for the future.
During this time, it is important for us all to stay informed but to try and limit our exposure to social media and media. This particularly applies to media which is opinion rather than fact, or which may not be trustworthy, and which can additionally fuel our existing anxiety and distress.
Looking after yourself
As always, and even more so during these times, it’s important to focus on the activities and daily routines which help support your feelings of wellbeing. Although some of these may need to be varied during this period, such as during times of self-isolation or other imposed restrictions, getting as much restorative sleep as you’re able, eating well and exercising to keep healthy and doing things you enjoy is a good place to start. So too is staying connected with friends, family and other support networks.
It is understandable to feel concerned during this time. Current anxiety can also trigger strong feelings and memories of previous traumas. It can be a time when you may need additional support. If you could like to speak to one of our trauma counsellors please call the Blue Knot Helpline on 1300 657 380 between 9-5 Mon to Sunday. For more information about how to care for yourself, please go to our website for more information.
The Federal government has created an app which allows users to navigate the latest advice and information about Coronavirus in real-time.
The Coronavirus Australia app is available from Apple App Store and on Google Play.
It provides information about
- What you need to know
- How to protect yourself and others
- Personal hygiene
- Social distancing
- Self isolation
- Public gatherings
- Getting tested
It also provides additional information for particular groups such as health workers and education providers as well as access to reliable news sources. It was launched alongside the Government’s new WhatsApp feature. https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/australian-government-whatsapp-channel-for-covid-19
For the latest advice, information and resources, you can go to www.health.gov.au
Call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The phone number of your state or territory public health agency is available here. If you have concerns about your health, please speak to your doctor.
As an alternative to the helplines, answers to many questions are available on the healthdirect website coronavirus hub. This is a first point of reference for reliable information about COVID-19. The Healthdirect Symptom Checker provides self-guided triage to find out what to do next.
If you are supporting children and young people, this podcast directly fields kids’ questions over the Coronavirus, and responds to them with information and reassurance.