New survey highlights COVID-19 mental health challenges

People living with severe and enduring mental health issues found COVID-19 challenging, with isolation often impacting on their health, but were also able to use resilience to get through, a new survey has found.

The survey, which was supported by Flourish Australia, found people living with a complex mental health issue had a high level of fear of contracting the virus among the community.

A majority (70%) of people reported having to stay at home as a contributing factor in the deterioration of their mental health. They also reported a lack of access to mental health services contributed to an increase in symptoms, with one-third not being able to access a support group during the pandemic.

But, encouragingly, people also reported high levels of resilience – with 40% of people reported previous experience in managing their own mental health helped them cope during the pandemic.

While public awareness about mental health increased during COVID-19, this is the first time people living with severe and enduring mental ill health issues have been heard from.

The survey, conducted by leading Australian community managed mental health service providers, Flourish Australia, Mind Australia, Neami National, One Door Mental Health, Open Minds, Stride and Wellways Australia assessed the impact of COVID-19 on people accessing these services. The online survey ran between June and July 2020. The survey and subsequent report were codesigned and coproduced with people with lived experience of a mental health issue or psychosocial disability. The findings draw on 738 responses from people around Australia.

The community managed mental health sector have welcomed the insight the report provides on the impact of COVID-19 on people living with severe and enduring mental health issues. Flourish Australia supports people in the community to live full, meaningful lives. To find out how we might be able to support you or loved one, call us today 0451 639 435


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