CEO Update on COVID-19 in the Community Mental Health Sector

I am writing to you after an extraordinary week which has no doubt challenged us all in some way.  Whilst there is much advice and good factual information on how we need to manage our workplaces and our wider communities to avoid the spread of COVID-19, we should also take some time to reflect on how we can support each other despite physical distance.

Find more information about COVID-19 from Queensland Health here.

By now many of you will have changed some of your work practices and put into place some business continuity plans but if not, you can find a link to a template here.

As mental health professionals we deal with people’s distress every day, but it is important to recognise and understand the broader feelings of anxiety that will be experienced by not only people accessing our services but staff, colleagues and the wider community during the current concerns relating to COVID-19.  It is important to acknowledge that health care workers and colleagues may also feel under increased pressure at this time.  This can play out in many ways for individuals and although we may be asked to keep our distance from others, we do not need to be distant in our interactions and our ability to show compassion.

The Beyond Blue website has some useful links on how to look after your mental health at this time.

There are some key messages that resonate with us at QAMH and they are:

  • Find a healthy balance to the media coverage so that it does not increase your anxiety
  • Know where to find good quality information
  • Stay calm and practical and follow official advice

There are a number of suggestions about how we manage our mental health and support others who need to have periods of self-isolation:

  • Remind ourselves that this is a temporary situation and that we are taking a positive step for our community
  • We may need to be at a physical distance but we can stay connected with family and friends though telephone and social media
  • Keep a healthy level of physical activity and maintain good sleeping and eating habits
  • Establish a routine as much as possible
  • For those working at home maintain a healthy balance with dedicated breaks
  • Avoid news and social media if you find it distressing.

I would invite you to contact us if you have any concerns that we can assist you with during this time or whether you would like us to source any particular information for you to help support your organisation.

Kind Regards,
Jennifer Black
Chief Executive Officer

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