Emotional and mental health

When you are responding to a crisis like COVID-19, it is natural to have feelings of stress. Find out more about how to manage these feelings.

Anxiety and COVID-19

Published research tells us during epidemics, the number of people whose mental health is affected tends to be greater than the number of people affected by the infection. This has some significant implications for our workforce managing the impacts of COVID-19.

Head of Psychology, Adjunct Professor Melissa Casey, has shared presentations about the mental health impacts of a pandemic on the healthcare workforce.

Download the presentation to learn more about:

  • Implications for healthcare workers
  • The role of psychological first aid and some self-care tips
  • What’s normal and what’s not in terms of behaviour in response to a crisis like COVID-19
  • Material to help you with psychological health and safety.

Presentation slides: Psychological Health and Safety Mind Body Connection

Presented by Head of Psychology, Adjunct Professor Melissa Casey

Presentation slides: Anxiety is more contagious than COVID-19

Presented by Head of Psychology, Adjunct Professor Melissa Casey on 29 April 2020

Presentation slides: Practical anxiety management

Presented by Dr Sika Turner,  Senior Clinical Psychologist

Presentation slides: Managing Emotional Fatigue

Presented by Lauren Stapleton, Psychology Discipline Senior

Mindfulness

  • Practice of paying attention to the present moment with openness, curiosity and most importantly without judgement
  • When practising mindfulness our thoughts tune into what we are sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.
  • Mindfulness has proven scientific benefits
  • Helps with chronic and relapsing depression and research results shows major reduction in relapse rates
  • Can have profound effects on our physical health.

The following links may be helpful and feature material by Associate Professor Craig Hassed from Monash Mindfulness at Monash University:

Mindful Moments

Keeping Calm and Carrying on during COVID-19

Breathing during meditation

Tips about working with the breath during meditation

Guided meditation

With Professor Craig Hassed, and Dr Richard Chambers

Boosting Immunity during COVID-19

How and why it’s good to boost your immunity

Weekly Mindfulness sessions with Southern Synergy

Monash Health employees are invited to join Southern Synergy’s weekly Mindfulness Program online every Wednesday from 2:30-3:00pm via Zoom.

Southern Synergy is a Faculty Research Centre within the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University.

Using gentle movement and breathing techniques, mindfulness practice can help maintain personal equilibrium as well as supporting an empathetic approach to those around us.

This session may be valuable if you are looking to find stillness in a world in a perpetual state of distraction or manage your responses on a stressful day.

You can join the session through your device with a microphone and camera by using the link: https://monash.zoom.us/j/8537374390

The password is 77258332.

If you have any questions about the sessions, make contact with Southern Synergy by email: southern.synergy@monash.edu

Mental health

Mental health online modules

Monash Health has two online learning modules which may be useful for helping improve your understanding of mental health issues and how they can affect you and your team.

Log onto Latte and search for mental health.

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing – Employees
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing – Managers

R U OK?

R U OK? Day is a reminder to check in on your colleagues and loved ones. Although R U OK? Day comes around once a year, it is important we keep these conversations going. There are a number of resources to help you start these conversations.

  • A poster which guides you through the R U OK? conversation
  • A practical guide and video for asking the question in the workplace
  • Resources on asking the question to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • A conversation guide for asking the question to LGBTIQ+ people

Practical tools to support mental health

Presentation slides: Inner Wellbeing and resilience

Presented by Max Von Sabler, Clinical Psychologist

Watching for the signs of stress

If you notice the following signs of stress over a period of time:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

Please contact a support service such as the EAP or speak with your GP.

People with pre-existing mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Contact your GP or mental health clinician if you have questions.

For crisis support resources, please refer to the list below compiled by Monash Health Social Work.

At an employee forum, Monash Health’s Dr Brian Long, clinical neuropsychologist, spoke about the impact of stress on memory and provided advice on how to manage minor memory problems.

Presentation slides: Memory failures due to stress

Presentation by Dr Brian Long, Clinical Neuropsychologist

The Black Dog Institute and a number of other organisations have released specific coronavirus resources for anxiety, stress and wellbeing, including material for children. Take a look at their useful material and others listed under the Peer support networks; online resources and courses page.

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