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Physically, not socially distant

2 April 2020 at 8:26 am
Maggie Coggan
“Through our connected strength we will come out the other side stronger,” chair of the Mental Health Commission says.  

Maggie Coggan | 2 April 2020 at 8:26 am


Physically, not socially distant
2 April 2020 at 8:26 am

“Through our connected strength we will come out the other side stronger,” chair of the Mental Health Commission says.  

While physically staying away from each other may be the best way to stop the spread of coronavirus, a new campaign is reminding Australians that staying socially connected is more important than ever.  

On Monday, the National Mental Health Commission launched the #InThisTogether campaign, with the backing of mental health charities such as SANE Australia, Beyond Blue, and Reachout. 

A suite of mental health and wellbeing tips and tricks have been made publicly available on the commission’s website. They include social media tiles and video messages from mental health experts, leaders and ambassadors providing advice on what to do if you’re struggling during this period of physical distancing

Lucy Brogden, the commission’s chair, said the aim of the national online campaign was to remind Australians that while you might be stuck inside and away from your friends, it was vital to stay socially connected to friends, neighbours and the rest of the community. 

“We need to care for one another, even when we are physically separated. We need to ensure that we are all OK,” Brogden said.  

“Through our connected strength we will come out the other side stronger.” 

Jack Heath, the CEO of SANE Australia, told Pro Bono News the campaign was also about providing a sense of comfort that this was something everyone was experiencing. 

“This campaign is placing us in a container, which is our common experience; our common humanity,” he said. 

“And so I think people actually really draw a sense of connection, and a sense of almost safety as well, [from the fact] that we are all in this together.”  

He said this messaging was particularly applicable for the for-purpose sector. 

“A number of organisations are really taking a hit with fundraising, events being cancelled and a lot of general uncertainty,” Heath said.  

“But it’s that message of being in it together and actually sharing the pain and the discomfort and the grief that is really important.” 

NFP workers on the firing line 

Heath said that for charity sector workers, it was especially important to take care of their mental health. 

“If we’re well in ourselves we’re going to be of more benefit to more people,” he said.  

He said for those that had started working from home, doing things such as establishing a regular routine and settling into a rhythm were really important. 

“Try and get up at the same time, make your bed, have a shower, get changed, get ready as if you’re going to work,” he said. 

“But be kind to yourself because it’s going to take us a few weeks or maybe a couple of months before we find a rhythm.”  


If you are struggling and need to talk to someone now, call Lifeline on 13 11 14

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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