Mental Health Bushfire
and COVID-19 Trauma Recovery Specialists, Vanessa Brunker and Beaver Hudson
Tuning into COVID-19 trauma
29 Oct 2020
Mental Health Month shines the spotlight on ‘tuning into’ our mental health and wellbeing. With a global pandemic still unfolding, people who have never experienced mental health concerns before may be requiring support for the first time.
Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District’s Mental Health Bushfire and COVID-19 Trauma Recovery Specialists, Vanessa Brunker and Beaver Hudson, are drawing on their expertise to help our community navigate these difficult times.
“Beaver and I have seen the extremely devastating effects stress, trauma and isolation can have on a community, let alone an individual,” says Vanessa.
“We have been able to help give some people a chance to breathe, cry, and talk about what is going on for them. We are able to provide them with coping strategies customised to their individual situations”
They say they’ve noticed an increase in financial stress has led to concerns about not having an income that matches their pre-pandemic earnings. For some, being on Government support payments has raised issues for individuals who were previously self-sufficient.
People are especially missing their families and are struggling with the changes around visiting loved ones and friends.
Vanessa says, “There are a lot of people and communities that are finding it really hard. COVID has definitely amplified their everyday worries.”
Some of the physical symptoms people may experience related to trauma are feeling dizzy or faint, excessive sweating, irregular breathing, changes in sleeping patterns, racing thoughts and changes in appetite. Other symptoms to look out for are feelings of grief and sadness, shock and disbelief, fear, anger, shame, helplessness and guilt.
Strategies to cope include actively looking after your mental health by reaching out to others, understanding that everyone reacts differently to stress, limiting the amount of negative news you take in and making time to relax. Taking care of your body is equally important. Try to exercise, eat healthy, get plenty of sleep and avoid excessive amounts of alcohol and drugs.
More information can be found on the Mental Health Australia website. Support is available by calling the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.