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  • Writer's pictureTim Sanderson

Mental Health Week 2020


Tasmanian Link for MHW

Mental Health Week runs from October 5 - 10, 2020.

Mental Health week this year comes at a really opportune time. I don't know about you, but I have been appalled at how 'mental health' has been turned into a political football by Right Wing pundits and appropriated as a lever to end COVID19 lockdowns in Victoria. As if the stress of coping with a lockdown hasn't been enough to deal with in the first place!

Using the very reasonable desires and need for the lockdowns to end, as a psychological and political lever to encourage people to take risks in public and to rail against the need for community solidarity, simply for political gain has been truly shocking to witness. Our Journalists also have a great deal to answer for, in siding with those who have wanted to undermine the hard work and suffering of hundreds of thousands of Victorians simply to score political points. This has also been atrocious behaviour

There is a long way to go with the pandemic, the pressure we are all experiencing has left many of us feeling vulnerable and wounded. It has been good to see that the Federal Government has just announced (Budget 2010) an increase in the number of medicare sessions with a psychologist from ten to twenty. This is indeed a welcome change and an admission that counselling with a psychologist is now a significant need across the whole country, not just in Victoria.

Being locked down has given rise to feelings of being trapped, loss of volition and personal rights, absence of agency in dealing with daily issues due to restrictions on exercise, shopping and contact with loved ones. These are extraordinary times, and the psychological consequences of this have led to perfectly normal reactions to the situation in many people. However, these reactions may be outside of what you or your loved ones might normally do when faced with stress. Your own reactions in turn may have caused additional anxiety for you or for your partner and other family members.

It is going to take a while to get through the Pandemic. Restrictions will come and go over the next several months. We are a long way from things being 'back to normal.' We have been very lucky in Australia so far. Very lucky indeed. Working out how to manage outbreaks and what these might do to us has been an essential education for how we continue to manage this ongoing situation.

Part of your strategy can and should be talking to a professional. Discuss your experience and fears with your GP first. Your Doctor can refer you to a psychologist with a plan that is covered by Medicare. A Psychologist or other medicare funded health professional can then provide you will assistance and a large part of the charge should be covered by Medicare. There are some of us who Bulk Bill for a variety of reasons, I am one of those. I'm one of those health providers who has a professional dislike of private health. There are a few of us around.

Your GP may recommend medication in the short term. For some people this can be helpful, but talk therapy is essential and can be a great comfort and help in my opinion. Meanwhile as the theme for this year's Mental Health Week goes, we all have a role to play.

‘Mental Health: We All Have a Role to Play.’

Mental Health Week theme for 2020 The Mental Health Week theme for 2020 is,

‘Mental Health: We All Have a Role to Play.’


• Check in on your own mental health

• Check in on a neighbour

• Check in on a friend

• Check in on what’s happening in your community.

• Check in for a mental health check up with a GP

Tim Sanderson


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