COVID normal is a phrase used by some officials to describe the stage when restrictions are eased to allow people to go about their business in an environment in which COVID-19 still exists without treatment or prevention.
However, we need to recognise that coming out of months of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown might be as hard for some people as it was going in. With our lives still impacted by the global pandemic, and with a number of people reporting an increase in their Parkinson’s symptoms during the restrictions, it is normal is to feel a range of emotions at this time.
You may be experiencing:
• fear of catching COVID until there is a vaccine
• anxiety around leaving the ‘security’ of home and your local bubble
• frustration as some regular activities remain cancelled
• sadness over not being able to visit family interstate and overseas and jealousy of those who can
• social anxiety and loss of confidence as you re-engage with social activities for the first time since March
• the need to put on a face and ‘stay strong’ for others no matter how you are feeling
• grief over not being able to visit or mourn dying family or friends or for the precious time lost to COVID-19.
Or you may feel none of this – you might be energised and ready to rush out to celebrate the easing of restrictions and get on with life again.
What is certain is that everyone will react differently. Jump in, or ease in – but follow the guidelines, adhere to the restrictions and remember, if you are feeling anxious about re-engaging with your family, friends and community, help is available. There are a number of ways you can access help to manage anxiety and depression and get on with your COVID normal life.
The Federal Government is supporting an additional 10 Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions available for people subjected to further restrictions in areas impacted by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, including Victoria, until 31 March 2021.
You are required to have a Mental Health Treatment Plan and a review with your GP to access the additional sessions. Your GP will be able to provide information about this process.
The Government has also established 15 new HeadtoHelp mental health clinics to further support Victorians. The hubs are located in six Primary Health Network regions in Melbourne and regional Victoria.
The service is available for people seeking support, as well as those caring for and supporting people with existing or developing mental health conditions.
HeadtoHelp is a free service. You can visit a hub in person or talk to a mental health professional via the central phone service. Visit headtohelp.org.au or phone 1800 595 212
Further resources can also be found at:
Beyond Blue: coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/
Black Dog Institute: blackdoginstitute.org.au/resources-support/ coronavirus-resources-for-anxiety-stress/
Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 restrictions at: dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
Not everyone has an extended network of family and friends to turn to for support. The Community Visitors Scheme (CSV) provides friendship to isolated older Australians, matching a volunteer visitor with an older person across Australia. The service is free for anyone who receives Government-subsidised residential aged care or a Home Care Package. This includes people are approved and on waiting lists for these types of care. More information: health.gov.au/initiatives-andprograms/community-visitors-scheme-cvs