Julia Gillard Is Soothing People With Her Advice On Mental Health During Coronavirus

"If you're at home and you're kind of climbing the walls, remember staying at home is about saving people's lives."


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Julia Gillard may not be the leader we have right now, but she’s the leader Australia is calling for, after she spoke out about how severely our new social isolation measures are affecting people’s mental health.

The former PM is now the chair of Beyond Blue, which is one organisation receiving funding as part of the government’s $74 million investment in mental health.

One in four calls to Beyond Blue are directly related to COVID-19, with Gillard telling Nine’s 60 Minutes program more people are concerned about the coronavirus than they were about the bushfires.

As the government works to flatten the coronavirus curve people are now subject to increasingly strict social restrictions — people are being told to stay inside, and gatherings of more than two people are now banned.

Julia said she was really worried about what impact that could have on people.

“When so much has changed so quickly it’s understandable people are anxious about ‘what’s going to happen next?'” she said.

“If you’re at home and you’re kind of climbing the walls, remember staying at home is about saving people’s lives.”

She said she understood the suddenness of everything could increase people’s insecurities, but she was concerned people were getting in their own heads and worrying about the worst-case scenario.

“You can get into self talk where you’re sort of catastrophising, you’re imagining the worst, worst future,” she said.

“If that is happening then it’s very important to kind of situate yourself back in the present, people would call that mindfulness, and then try and think about the positive things the future could offer.

“If you do find you’re sort of stuck in a rut, it’s getting dark, you’re living with a lot of anxiety, reach out for help.”

Australians are now able to access mental health treatment online or over the phone through telehealth.

Extra funding has also been supplied to existing mental health organisations, and the government has created a new website Head To Health which will provide information and guidance on how to maintain good mental health for those in self-isolation during the pandemic.

If you or someone you know needs support contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or visit the government’s new mental health portal at headtohealth.gov.au.