Looking after your Mental Health

 

We understand that the Covid-19 outbreak may impact the health and wellbeing of the University community, so we have gathered some helpful information and guidance.

UQ’s first priority will always be the health and safety of our students and staff. UQ continues to take advice from the formal health authorities regarding the most appropriate response to COVID-19.

During this time, stay informed with the most up to date UQ information through the UQ COVID-19 advice page and take some time to review the FAQ's applicable to your circumstances.

You don’t have to be self-isolating in order for coronavirus concerns to have an impact on your mental health. You might find yourself feeling worried about the spread of coronavirus and its impact on you and your loved ones. These feelings are normal and it’s important we acknowledge them and remind each other to look after our physical and mental health. Some things that might help to look after your mental health and wellbeing in these unknown times include:

  • Be mindful of exposure to information through stories, traditional and social media. It can be helpful, and is totally ok, to take a break from the 24-hour news cycle
  • Do things that make you feel physically and emotionally safe, and be with those who are helpful to your wellbeing
  • Engage in activities that promote a sense of calm and feeling grounded eg. Gardening, reading, meditation, listen to music etc. (use of alcohol and other drugs can be counterproductive with this)
  • It can help to talk to someone if it all feels a bit much, such as friends or family and Crisis Support is available.
  • Check out the headspace website for 7 tips for a healthy headspace. They demonstrate simple and effective things that can help people to create and maintain a healthy headspace, regardless of whether they have been affected by COVID-19 or not.

For some people, the coronavirus outbreak and surrounding coverage and speculation may trigger compulsive thoughts and unhelpful behaviours, particularly if you have pre-existing conditions such as Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. If you are receiving support for your condition, you might find it helpful to talk to your clinician, therapist, or other medical professionals.

You might also find more general guidance for coping with symptoms helpful, such as that from the following organisations:

If you have to self-isolate, please refer to the latest Department of Health guidance.

Self-isolating may seem like a daunting prospect, and at times might be stressful and boring. There are, however, a number of things that you can do to look after yourself and your mental wellbeing when self-isolating. Some examples include:

  • Staying in touch with your family and friends - you can still contact each other over the phone, on social media or through video calls.
  • Continuing the things that you enjoy or use the time to discover a new hobby. You could try reading that book you’ve been meaning to start, watch that new series or try a new skill.
  • Try and get into a daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself. You may find it helpful to plan out your time in advance and know what you are going to do each day, so you have something to look forward to.
  • Look after your personal environment and create a space that you are able to enjoy and feel comfortable in.
  • Remember that you might need to up your cleaning game. To minimise the spread of germs, you should regularly clean surfaces that are frequently touches, such as door handles, light switches, kitchen and bathroom areas with household detergent or disinfectant
  • Keeping up to date with new information can help you feel more in control but do take a break from social media if you feel like the updates are getting too much.

During this time it is really important that we are all looking out for each other. Here are some Phone Callthings you can do to support your loved ones:

  • Reach out, be sure to keep in touch even if you can’t see each other in person. Set up a what's app group, skype someone you've been meaning talk to for ages, or pick up the phone and make a call
  • Make sure you are sharing reliable information (Queensland Government, Australian Department of Health, UQ COVID-19 Advice page).
  • Ask how this is affecting your friends and family and if there is anything you can do or what they’d find helpful to look after themselves.

  • Check-in with those who might be at more of risk during this time to see if there is anything you can do to help

Student Counselling Services

If you're experiencing a crisis and need help, you can get in touch any time for support.

If you need immediate help, call the UQ Counselling and Crisis Line (1300 851 998).

If you call 1300 851 998 outside business hours (before 8.30am and after 4.30pm Monday to Friday) or any time on the weekend or a public holiday, a trained counsellor will answer the phone and provide support. To make an urgent appointment with a UQ counsellor, call 1300 851 998 during Monday-Friday, 8.30am-4.30pm and ask for a crisis appointment. Our trained concierge staff will answer the phone during business hours and assist you to connect to the right support.

If you need to talk to someone, please book an appointment with one of our counsellors. You can do this on the my.UQ Counselling page.

Beyond Blue
1300 22 4636
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/

Kids Help Line
1800 55 1800
https://kidshelpline.com.au/

Lifeline 
13 11 14
https://www.lifeline.org.au/

Headspace Online Chat
https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/connect-with-a-clinician/

Dr Russ Harris - FACE COVID Guide
Mindfulness guru, Dr Russ Harris has created a helpful guide on how you can utilise Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to take care of your mental health during the COVID-19 crisis we are currently experiencing.

Access the free e-book here.
Check out the video here.

 

 

 

 

YOLO YOLO is a free online program based on the latest research in positive psychology and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
The program consists of four short 30-40 minute modules over four weeks and is available to all UQ students for free.

  • Learn skills for living life to the fullest.
  • Skill up for the challenges life throws at you now & in the future.
  • Learn how to manage stress & increase well-being.
  • Raise your emotional intelligence to complement your uni degree.

Join YOLO here.

 

UniWellbeing 
The UniWellbeing course is a free, online course designed to help UQ students build essential skills for maintaining good emotional wellbeing. The course includes 4 lessons and runs for 5 weeks. Each lesson will take 20-30 minutes to read. It's accompanied by a do-it-yourself guide, which explains how to work through the skills you are learning. You'll also receive a phone call from a counsellor once a week. The 10-15 minute call will guide you through the course, answer any questions you might have and talk through how to apply the skills to your own situation.

Register for Uniwellbeing here. 

TEDTalk

Watch this TED Talk with Johann Hari called 'This could be why you're depressed or anxious'. He discusses the different reasons why depression comes about and explains that most of the factors that have been proven to cause depression and anxiety are not in our biology. He explains that factors in the way we live are the major causes and once you understand them, it can open up a very different set of solutions to managing depression that does not include medication. Watch below.