Inclusive Health & Covid-19
Now that Covid-19 has reached the point of pandemic, it is affecting each and every one of us in Australia. People already at high risk of vulnerability, such as people experiencing homelessness, mental health or substance use issues, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and those in prison, may not only be adversely affected by the virus itself - the increased social isolation, the reduction in health service capacity and the increased stress associated with ongoing uncertainly will have a greater impact on those people who are already stressed, anxious and isolated.
The World Health Organisation has published guidance on how to manage mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some relevant points are:
• Refer to “people who have COVID-19”, “people who are being treated for COVID-19”, “people who are recovering from COVID-19”, rather than “COVID-19 cases” or “victims”.
• Find opportunities to amplify the voices, positive stories and positive images of people who have experienced COVID-19 and have recovered, or those who have supported a loved one through recovery and are willing to share their experience.
• Use understandable ways to share messages with people with intellectual, cognitive and psychosocial disabilities, including forms of communication that do not rely solely on written information.
• Stress is a normal response to the situation for health workers. Managing stress and psychosocial wellbeing is as important as managing physical well-being. Managers should ensure staff are aware of where they can access mental health and psychosocial support services.
The Inclusive Health Program continues to monitor the situation for vulnerable groups and is working to support our health services at the front lines.
Employees at SVHA can stay informed by joining the Covid-19 group on Workplace Connect http://bit.ly/covid-svha and through their own facility intranet site.