A new national campaign created by the Australian Government is urging Australians to look after their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The “How’s your head today?” campaign aims to encourage people to make their mental health and wellbeing a priority.
The $10 million campaign will be run across TV, radio, in shopping centres, online and via social media and according to SBS, will also be translated in 15 different languages. These are Vietnamese, Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Greek, Italian, Korean, Spanish, Punjabi, Hindi, Khmer, Thai, Turkish, Persian and Macedonian.
The campaign will highlight ways to help Australians cope with the challenges brought about by the pandemic, including advice on staying connected. It also hopes to raise awareness on how to identify when something is wrong and encourage people to seek help.
The accompanying Government website, Head to Health, also provides information, advice and professional support services to help manage your mental health.
“The pandemic has caused isolation, job losses and financial stress for many families, with crisis organisations and suicide prevention services experiencing higher demand,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
“Lifeline and Beyond Blue are reporting a significant increase in the number of people seeking help, and for more complex issues. The mental health impact of the pandemic is also borne out by Medicare statistics, which show a significant uptake of mental health telehealth services.”
Crisis support service Lifeline reported record months in its 57-year history, with calls spiking in April and August and the service receiving up to 90,000 calls a month as of early September. In the same month, Kids Helpline also experienced an increase in calls, jumping from 6,000 to 10,000 per week.
As well as encouraging people to monitor their mental health, Hunt announced subsidised support for those affected by the second wave, especially for those living in Victoria.
“Ten additional Medicare-subsidised psychological therapy sessions are available for people subjected to further restrictions in areas impacted by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hunt said. “Victorians can also access free-of-charge 15 HeadtoHelp centres across the state, or visit Headtohelp.org.au.”
The campaign will run through to next year and the multi-language material is set to be distributed next week.
If you or anyone you know is struggling and needs support, call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14, both of which provide trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7. You can also speak with someone confidentially at Headspace by calling 1800 650 890 or chat online here.