Reflections from the COVID-19 mental health frontline

Friday, August 21, 2020

Not surprisingly, Prahran Psychology has seen a massive increase in the number of clients over past few months due to the pandemic. More recently, referrals have again increased as a result of the recent stage 4 restrictions. Even if COVID-19 is not the main presenting issue, it still accounts for much of what we are talking about with our clients every day. The pandemic is weighing heavily on everyone and we are acutely aware of the complexities of the matter. In particular, people are worried about their health, employment, friends and families and their futures. It’s been very challenging to be a witness to the collective unconscious of our city as our clients come in one by one seeking comfort and direction. We don’t mind admitting that it can weigh heavily on us as psychologists. We wouldn’t be human if we denied it. But we also driven by a strong resolve to make a difference where we can. The challenge for us, in addition to imparting our knowledge on how to manage mental health, has been to tailer that knowledge to the individual needs of our clients. Although we are talking about COVID-19 every day, each story is unique and therefore warrants it’s own individual approach. We have been in awe of our clients and the way this city has responded to the crisis and feel privileged to be doing our part to help.  We often use the word privilege when it comes to the work we do. It is because we have always seen it as a privilege to be let into people’s lives, that we have been able to step up at this time to meet the increased needs of our clients.

My advice to everyone is to not hesitate when it comes to seeking help. Despite the increased demand, we will do our best to assist you. You are not being a burden to the system or us and we will do our best to help you to find something that can get you through this period.  We have also been buoyed by how well the mental health sector has been supported during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are now able to see people via Telehealth and for an extra 10 sessions (making it 20 sessions that are now available to people). The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the removal of some of the barriers to accessing mental health services, so now is the time to take advantage of the access you have. People have not hesitated to take up JobSeeker and JobKeeper and they should not think twice about the mental health safety net.

Take care and look out for each other.

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