Mental health stress yet to bite

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Albany Headspace manager Andrew Wenzel said there has never been a better time to care for your mental wellbeing.
Camera IconAlbany Headspace manager Andrew Wenzel said there has never been a better time to care for your mental wellbeing. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Headspace Albany manager Andrew Wenzel is urging people to create a mental wellness plan amid “high risk” conditions for mental health.

New referrals at the Albany branch have dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Mr Wenzel said he believed that was because the reality had not yet sunk in yet for many people.

He said WA had not felt the full mental impact of the pandemic, and he suspected the number of people with issues would rise as it had in the Eastern States.

“We are getting to the end of the novelty wearing off and a lot of people ... miss being around others,” he said. “The way the pandemic has panned out, the impact has been a bit delayed in WA.

“Probably, we will see an increase in some of the things that happen as a result of social isolation — family and domestic violence, potentially people turning to alcohol and drugs to cope with their feelings.”

He said risk factors included the feeling of not having control, social isolation, economic fallout and the general disruption to daily life.

“People who have taken their mental health for granted before, or have been fortunate enough to have good mental health, need to look at the things they need to do to help them get through this,” he said.

Headspace Albany still offers face-to-face services but also runs phone and online services.

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