Rural and regional COVID-19 mental health impacts investigated

Rural and regional COVID-19 mental health impacts investigated

The Mental Health Commission of NSW is seeking the views of people from rural and regional areas who experienced impacts on their mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic and NSW lockdowns.

Commissioner Catherine Lourey had urged NSW rural and regional residents, who experienced strict lockdowns, to complete an online survey to share their experiences and help improve government and community understanding of how people with lived experience of a mental health issue and their carers, families and kinship groups have fared during 2021.

"We want to hear what people went through in terms of their wellbeing as we know there were many challenges experienced across the community, and this impacted people differently," Ms Lourey said.

This is the second survey by the Commission on the mental health lessons from COVID-19 in NSW and builds on the findings from the previous survey of the 2020 lockdowns, which found that people in NSW experienced both positive and negative outcomes due to the pandemic.

"We know that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on residents across South-West and Western Sydney," Ms Lourey said.

"People with a lived experience of mental health issues, and those who care for them, may be feeling particularly vulnerable or isolated as we deal with 'pandemic fatigue' from the ongoing upheaval to our lives.

"We want to hear from people about their experiences first-hand, not only about the health and social implications of the 2021 restrictions on health and wellbeing, but also how they've managed their own and each other's wellbeing."

The survey is open at until December 6, 2021 to anyone 18 years and older living in NSW. It should take around 10-15 minutes to complete, and all responses are anonymous and confidential.

The findings will help the Commission identify the most appropriate strategies to support mental health and wellbeing as NSW moves towards post-pandemic life. The results will be shared with the NSW Government and the community.

Any community members who are concerned about their own or a loved one's mental health are encouraged to speak with trusted support services such as a family GP or call one of the following support lines:

  • NSW Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
  • Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

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This story Rural and regional COVID-19 mental health impacts investigated first appeared on Southern Highland News.