In recent weeks the global response to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has escalated, making many people feel anxious and stressed.
Whilst there is currently only one confirmed case of coronavirus in the Northern Territory, strict measures are being put into place to prevent the spread of the virus and to protect vulnerable members of our community.
On top of Government protective measures, the fear of not knowing what is going to happen can often increase feelings of uncertainty and anxiety.
Its important to source information from credible and official sources, to avoid misinformation. It is important to stick to the facts.
There is now a dedicated COVID-19 hotline number for the NT.
Call 1800 008 002 with any concerns.
Other good information sources include:
The Australian Government Department of Health.
To Find the latest travel advice.
Here are some tips to help reduce anxiety and stress during this time:
Manage time on online and listening to news:
Whilst it is important to stay informed, constant negative information is bad for our mental health and it is easy to get drawn into opinions and misinformation. Set yourself a time limit each day to check in, and make sure you balance time online with fun or relaxing activities as well.
Follow advice on safety and hygiene measures:
Following advice to increase your safety is a practical way to manage anxiety. People are being encouraged to reduce non-essential travel and avoid large public gatherings. If you feel unwell then stay home and only seek a coronavirus test if you fit the criteria (been overseas to an effective country or you have had contact with an effected person). Think about increasing social distance by not greeting a person with a handshake and do follow official hand washing tips to reduce your risk.
Have conversations with children and family members:
Sharing information in an appropriate way helps children manage their own anxiety. Honest conversations help dispel any misinformation or coronavirus myths they may have heard. Having regular family conversations that discuss any updates and explain safety measures are important.
Take care of your basis health needs:
In times of uncertainty and stress, looking after ourselves is more important than ever. Eating healthy food, exercising, having a good night’s sleep and reducing alcohol, caffeine, smoking and other drugs all help to manage anxiety.
Utilise relaxation techniques:
If you are feeling anxious or stressed, take a moment to consciously relax. There are many things you can try, including deep breathing, mindfulness, meditation, walking the dog, reading a book, having a cup of tea, listening to some favorite music or reading a magazine or
book. Often shifting your focus can make a big difference.
Be a good neighbor:
Helping others is a good way to make us feel better. Are there any people around you who might be struggling that you could check in with? Supporting the elderly and the vulnerable people in our community is really important at this time.
Seek support from online and phone services:
If you’re feeling distressed or overwhelmed it’s important to reach out.
Call the Beyond Blue Support Service on 1300 22 4636 or go online at beyondblue.org.au/getsupport for online chat (3pm-12am AEST) and email (responses within 24 hours). Beyond Blue have also developed a ‘Coping with the coronavirus’ thread in their online forums at bb.org.au/33cNdQU.
Find tips to reduce anxiety at https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak?
For immediate support call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or try the Lifeline text service (evenings) 0477 13 11 14. In an emergency, always call 000.