COVID-19 has had a significant impact on mental health in Australia, with lockdowns, job scarcity, financial instability and isolation all contributing factors to people’s wellbeing. Head to Health mental health clinics and referral line were established to support those whose mental health may be suffering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative is a collaboration between the Department of Health and all NSW and ACT Primary Health Networks (PHNs). WentWest, the Western Sydney Primary Health Network (PHN), is proud to have launched two Head to Health hubs in Western Sydney to ensure that community members of all ages and backgrounds have access to mental health support.
I have been working with Stephanie* since early September. She originally presented at a Head to Health Hub with deteriorated mental health due to previous trauma and the development of multiple chronic health conditions. Frequent flare-ups and increasing pain were contributing to a reduction in self-care. Additionally, Stephanie was experiencing significant anxiety around being immune-compromised, the potential risks of exposure to COVID-19, and the stress of the NSW lockdown measures.
Over the last seven weeks, we have helped Stephanie with stress management and emotional regulation. During this time, she has made considerable improvements to her self-care, resulting in a reduction in stress-induced flare-ups. She now prioritises daily walks and spending time in nature. Stephanie noted that Head to Health has been like a ‘mirror’, allowing her to work things out for herself. She provided positive feedback to the intake team on the support she is receiving at the Head to Health Hub.
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of this client.
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