Mental Wellbeing Resources - An Update
As we face unprecedented challenges and stress with the ongoing health crisis and inevitable economic effects, it’s critical that we maintain and protect our mental wellbeing and that of our colleagues, employees, friends and families.
The following updated resource roundup highlights the work of a number of key organisations, who have worked hard throughout 2020 to support people at this difficult time and develop useful toolkits, online forums and other avenues of support.
The Architects’ Mental Wellbeing Forum in the UK has a website of useful resources, including a free Mental Wellbeing Toolkit and a COVID-19 Support Toolkit, available for download.
The ACA has recently set up an Australian version of the Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum in the eastern states, with groups meeting regularly online in Queensland, NSW and Victoria. See our AMWF Update page for more detail about how to get involved. We hope to have forums up and running in Adelaide and Perth in future months.
Beyond Blue has developed a Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service on its website, with links to a phone support service, a web chat support service, an online community forum, and emergency and crisis support.
During 2020, Beyond Blue has continued to develop and update online information, strategies and expert advice around wellbeing and the pandemic, with a range of topics covered from Coping with isolation and being at home to Financial stress and Mental Wellbeing and Tips on getting a good night’s sleep.
Beyond Blue’s online community forums are described by one user as a “gentle and welcoming place for everyone during this difficult time”. They offer people a safe space to communicate and share experiences and strategies for staying well.
Developed by Beyond Blue, Heads Up promotes mental health in the workplace. The dedicated website has a wealth of resources, including a terrific section for employers on strategies for healthy workplaces, legal rights and responsibilities, ways to prevent and respond to workplace bullying, and education and training.
One particularly good Heads Up resource is Ten Tips for Mentally Healthy Workplaces, which offers advice for medium to large businesses. Key areas to focus on include raising awareness and removing stigma, providing support to employees with a mental illness, and creating a supportive workplace environment.
The Black Dog Institute has developed a comprehensive Workplace Wellbeing page, packed with advice on how to create a mentally healthy workplace in a simple, inexpensive way. Tips include implementing smart work design, building better work cultures and personal resilience, increasing the awareness of mental health, and supporting staff recovery from mental illness. The Institute also has a Workplace Mental Health Toolkit available for download, which helps employers and employees recognise the signs of anxiety or depression in colleagues and gives guidance on how to help.
There’s also a Digital tools and apps page that features a number of online tools and mobile apps for mental health and wellbeing, including self tests for anxiety and depression, an online clinic with a free personal assessment tool and a range of other resources for specific needs.
Dr Jill Newby, Associate Professor of Psychology at UNSW, has also developed an article on ’10 tips for managing anxiety during COVID-19’, with excellent tips on channelling your anxious energy into action; cutting down or stopping the behaviours fuelling your anxiety; being aware of negative thoughts and not giving them too much power; looking after your body; and staying connected with others.
Lifeline has developed a guide to mental health and wellbeing during the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, including a list of useful strategies to cope with social distancing, self-isolation or quarantine.
Lifeline is a national charity that offers 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services. The telephone counselling service is available on 13 11 14.
Mindspot is a free service for Australian adults who are experiencing difficulties with anxiety, stress, depression and low mood, providing online assessment and treatment courses, or connections to local services that can help.
Mindspot has also developed several resources to help people ‘Stay Resilient’ through this difficult period, including ’10 psychological tips for coping with Coronavirus (COVID-19)’.
Smiling Mind recognises that there will be many more people feeling stress, fear and anxiety, and has developed a page with several articles on how mindfulness can help.
‘Finding a place inside that feels calm and safe’ helps readers recognise the stress response and offers ‘3 quick ways to calm yourself’. It argues that the strategy is not about denial or ignoring the harsh realities of COVID, but a way to give your mind and body a break from the onslaught of bad news.
‘How mindfulness can help during Coronavirus’ offers practical tools and techniques to help you manage uncertainty, reduce anxiety and stay connected and grounded. It helps you to recognise your own personal warning signs when things are close to tipping point and learning to calm down and soothe your nervous system. It also flags the benefits of taking ‘7 Healthy Brain Breaks’ to give your brain and body the necessary respite it needs.
WHO has published a document on Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak with advice for the general population as well as healthcare workers, carers of children, and older adults. WHO advises to protect yourself and be supportive and empathetic to others; find opportunities to amplify positive and hopeful stories; and seek information only from trusted sources. “Get the facts; not the rumors and misinformation. Gather information at regular intervals, from WHO website and local health authorities platforms, in order to help you distinguish facts from rumors. Facts can help to minimize fears.”
WHO has also done a lot of work on Mythbusting, promising to flatten the infodemic curve and stop the spread of misinformation about the pandemic.