Wellbeing Resources

Central to our approach to well-being is a commitment to removing the stigma associated with mental health. Through our association with Beyond Blue we are able to provide access to their information as an additional source of support.

Our physical health can also contribute to the state of our mental health and we encourage you to maintain a level of physical fitness and consider some of the resources provided below to assist.

The Converge International Portal

In response to the global pandemic a suite of information and materials is provided to support your mental and physical health.

Strategies to cope with stress, anxiety or distress

When many things feel uncertain or out of our control, one of the most effective ways we can manage stress and anxiety is to focus on the actions that are in our control. Here are some ways you can take intentional steps to look after your physical and emotional wellbeing during this challenging time:

 

Learn how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. The Australian Department of Health has recommended important actions we can all take to protect against infection and prevent the virus from spreading including practising good hygiene, self-isolation, and social (physical) distancing.

 

Acknowledge your feelings. Whatever you are feeling right now, know that it’s okay to feel that way. Allow yourself time to notice and express what you’re feeling. This could be through journalling, talking with others, or channelling your emotions into something creative (e.g., drawing, painting, poetry, music). 

 

Maintain your day-to-day activities and a routine as much as possible. Having a healthy routine can have a positive impact on your thoughts and feelings. Go back to basics: eating healthy meals, physical exercise (e.g., walking, stretching, running, cycling), getting enough sleep, and doing things you enjoy. Even if you're in self-quarantine, or working from home, there are many ways to develop new routines and stay healthy.

During this time of change, it's natural for our minds to think of all the usual activities we may not be able to do at the moment. Make a conscious shift to focus on the activities we are still able to do, or those that we may have more opportunity to do if we're at home more often. Some ideas could be to:

  • Keep learning and maintaining your study
  • Read a book
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Try out a new hobby or skill (e.g., cook a new recipe, play an instrument, learn a language, learn how to sew, gardening).

Stay connected. Receiving support and care from others has a powerful effect on helping us cope with challenges. Spending time with supportive family and friends can bring a sense of comfort and stability. Talking through our concerns, thoughts, and feelings with others can also help us find helpful ways of thinking about or dealing with a stressful situation.

 

Remember that physical distancing does not need to mean social disconnection. There are many ways we can use technology to stay connected, and both give and receive support (remotely). You could:

  • Call, text, or video-chat with friends and family
  • Share quick and easy recipes
  • Start a virtual book or movie club
  • Schedule a workout together over video chat
  • Join an online group or peer forum.

Contribute. Showing care towards friends, family, or vulnerable people in our community can be all the more important during times like this. It can foster a sense of hope, purpose, and meaning. Some ideas can be to:

  • Send someone you care about a message of encouragement or affirmation
  • Cook, pack and deliver a meal to someone in your neighbourhood
  • Donate to a cause.

Keep things in perspective. In a situation that’s uncertain, it’s natural to have many ‘what if?’ questions in our minds. In the absence of information, our anxious mind will often fill in the blanks with worst case scenarios, which can leave us feeling overwhelmed, helpless, or vulnerable. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to shift your thinking from catastrophizing to a more helpful mindset:

  • What are the things within my control?
  • Am I overestimating the likelihood of the worst-case scenario?
  • What strategies have helped me cope with challenging situations in the past that will serve me well during this time?
  • What is a small helpful or positive action that I can take now?

Seek accurate information. Finding credible sources you can trust is important to avoid the fear and panic that can be caused by misinformation. Follow sources like the Australian Department of Health,  

 

Set limits around news and social media. It’s understandable to want to keep informed and prepared. At the same time, constantly reading, watching, or listening to upsetting media coverage can unnecessarily intensify worry and agitation. When you get the urge to check updates, see if you can pause, notice the urge, delay acting on the urge, and let it pass without judgement. Schedule a specific time to check in with the news instead. It's also okay to take breaks from conversations with others about COVID-19 and suggest talking about other topics.

 

Helpful resources and support

Tipsheets and online resources

Mobile apps

  • Smiling Mind - free mindfulness meditation app to help you look after your mental health and manage stress and daily challenges.
  • Headspace - free "Weathering the Storm" program available to help support the global community through this time including  a curated list of calming meditations, help with sleep, and at-home workouts or movement exercises.

Crisis support

General counselling and mental health support

  • Beyond Blue - online and phone mental health support. Phone: 1300 22 4636 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Beyond Blue online chat.
  • Care in Mind - online and phone counselling for people living, working, or studying in Melbourne's northern, central, and western suburbs. Phone: 1300 096 269 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). CareinMIND online counselling.
  • eheadspace - confidential mental health and wellbeing support for young people (12 - 25 years) and their families, including information, support, and health services. Phone: 1800 650 890 (9am - 1am, 7 days a week). eheadspace online chat.
  • MensLine - professional telephone and online support and information service for Australian men. Phone 1300 78 99 78 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). MensLine online counselling.
  • Mindspot - free telephone and online service for people with stress, worry, anxiety, low mood or depression. It provides online assessment and treatment for anxiety and depression and can help you find local services. Call 1800 61 44 34 (8am - 8pm, Monday - Friday; 8am-6pm, Saturday).

Specialist areas

  • 1800Respect - confidential counselling, information and support for people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse via phone or online chat. Phone: 1800 737 732 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). 1800Respect online chat.
  • Butterfly Foundation's National Helpline (ED HOPE) - confidential service that provides information, counselling, and treatment referral for people with eating disorders, and body image and related issues. Phone: 1800 33 4673 (8am - midnight).
  • Directline - confidential alcohol and drug counselling and referral service. Phone: 1800 888 236 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Directline online counselling.
  • Switchboard Victoria - telephone and web counselling, information, and referral service for LGBTQI people. Phone: 1800 184 527 (3pm - 12am, 7 days a week). QLife Webchat.