As the community continues to battle the effects of COVID-19, many people have reported that feelings of isolation due to the lockdowns and general anxiety about the virus has impacted their mental health. According to a recent study from Slater and Gordon conducted by Kantar Australia, these feelings are also common amongst Australia’s healthcare, aged and disability workers, who are on the frontline taking care of the ill and vulnerable.
According to the study, 54 per cent of healthcare, aged and disability workers said that their mental health had been affected due to working within the COVID-19 environment. A further 52 per cent of Australian hospital workers have reported feeling anxious or stressed about carrying out their job because they feel there’s a lack of appropriate protective clothing. Slater and Gordon Practice Group Leader Andrea Kehoe said workers in these industries should be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep them protected and safe.
“The healthcare and social assistance sector will continue to be the ones on the frontline of this crisis, caring for the sick and elderly and those living with a disability,” Ms Kehoe said.
“They are also reported as having one of the highest rates of work-related injuries and illnesses, predominantly due to the nature of their work in caring for others.
Seventy-four per cent of hospital workers also said that access to health and wellbeing support such as counselling was important to them, with 81 per cent also noting that support from management was also an important factor to them. However, 37 per cent of the respondents felt that their management had not provided adequate support to them.
As a frontline healthcare, aged and disability worker, the community has relied heavily on your resilience and dedication during this time. However, it’s also important to recognise the enormous pressure you are under and that your own health and wellbeing, including mental health also need to be taken care of. If you are feeling stressed or anxious, know that you are not alone.
If you require assistance for your mental wellbeing, you should first speak to your HR team member to see if your employer has an Employee Assistance Program, which includes free counselling.
Alternatively, there’s also a range of services that can provide the support you require.
- Lifeline 13 11 14 - Lifeline provides free, 24-hour Telephone Crisis Support service across Australia, 7 days per week.
- BeyondBlue 1300 224 636 - BeyondBlue provides free calls and chats, one-on-one with a trained mental health professional for crisis support and counselling. Calls are available 24-hours, 7 days per week. The online chat service is available 3pm – 12 am, 7 days per week.
- MensLine Australia 1300 789 978 - MensLine Australia is a telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns. The service is provided by qualified counsellors and is available 24/7.
- Headspace 1800 650 890 - Headspace provides mental health support for people aged 12 to 25 years and also information and services to family and carers to support a young person going through a difficult time. The telephone and online support services are staffed by experienced youth mental health professionals.
The contents of this blog post are considered accurate as at the date of publication. However the applicable laws may be subject to change, thereby affecting the accuracy of the article. The information contained in this blog post is of a general nature only and is not specific to anyone’s personal circumstances. Please seek legal advice before acting on any of the information contained in this post.