The Morrison Government will roll out a COVID-19 mental health campaign How’s your head today? to urge people to prioritise their mental health, raise awareness about how to identify when something is wrong, and encourage people to seek help.
The campaign will be launched on TV, radio, in shopping centres and venues, online and through social media from Sunday and will continue through to next year.
How’s your head today? encourages all Australians to check in with how they are feeling. Through animated characters, the campaign recognises the emotions many people are feeling and illustrates the actions they can take to help themselves feel better.
The campaign will be provided in 15 languages across radio and print including Vietnamese, Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Greek, Italian, Korean, Spanish, Punjabi, Hindi, Khmer, Thai, Turkish, Persian and Macedonian.
COVID-19 has had a significant effect on the mental health and wellbeing of many people across the country. Victorians in particular have had it tough.
The pandemic has caused isolation, job losses and financial stress for many families, with crisis organisations and suicide prevention services experiencing higher demand.
Lifeline and Beyond Blue are reporting a significant increase in the number of people seeking help, and for more complex issues. The mental health impact of the pandemic is also borne out by Medicare statistics, which show a significant uptake of mental health telehealth services.
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said, “Through this campaign, Australians are encouraged to make their mental health and wellbeing a priority. We want them to know support is available, when and where they need it.”
“I encourage all Australians to seek help if experiencing mental ill-health. Talk to your GP, reach out to Beyond Blue or Lifeline, or visit the Headtohealth.gov.au,” Minister Hunt said.
“Ten additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions are available for people subjected to further restrictions in areas impacted by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Victorians can also access free-of-charge 15 HeadtoHelp centres across the state, or visit Headtohelp.org.au.”
National Mental Health Commission CEO, Christine Morgan encouraged Australians to stay connected, and “walk together, side by side over the coming months.”
“Everyone has and may continue to have their mental health and wellbeing impacted by the pandemic. Whether you have an existing mental illness or have had your mental health challenged, it is important to seek support and treatment as a priority for your overall wellbeing – the support and treatment is available,” Ms Morgan said.
“Staying connected to your loved ones and your community is fundamental to your mental health and wellbeing at the moment. It is one of the proactive tasks that is important for all of us to do each and every day.
“If you notice that someone has disconnected, reach out and ask them how they are doing as we walk together, side by side over the coming months.”
The Head to Health website has information, advice and links to free and low cost phone and online mental health services from some of Australia’s most trusted mental health organisations.
Head to Health has been an important resource supporting Australians especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and significant increased traffic has continued since March when a dedicated COVID area was introduced.
Between 20 March when the COVID-19 Support page went live and 26 October, there were 380,308 unique page views of the COVID-19 support pages on Head to Health.
On 26 October 2020, for example, there were 2,873 total sessions on HeadtoHealth, well above the average sessions of around 1,200 a day. Of these, 460 (16%) were unique page views of the COVID-19 support pages.
The Morrison Government has allocated $10 million to support the How’s your head today? campaign, and will continue to prioritise mental health and suicide prevention services.
Since March 2020, the Government has made available more than $500 million in funding for direct supports to respond to the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with $10 million allocated to this national mental health communications campaign.
For information, advice and support services visit headtohealth.gov.au
Campaign materials are available at https://health.govcms.gov.au/resources/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-mental-health-campaign-resources