Mental health during COVID-19

Family Law - 20 March 2020

As family lawyers, we are acutely aware that our clients are often stressed and anxious whilst going through separation and the resolution of parenting and property matters.  It's an understandable and normal reaction to difficult personal circumstances.

With COVID-19, and the significant upheaval we are all are experiencing, we know that stress and anxiety levels are likely to be heightened even further.  For many people going through separation, concerns extend to the difficult job of explaining the almost daily changes in how we live, to their children. 

For parents looking for guidance in speaking with their children about COVID-19, we've found the following articles to have some helpful, practical advice, such as teaching good hand hygiene (sing "Happy Birthday" twice while washing hands — with soap!), sticking to routines as much as is possible, limiting exposure to media, and keeping information developmentally appropriate.

https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/

https://raisingchildren.net.au/guides/a-z-health-reference/coronavirus-and-children-in-australia

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/16/opinions/telling-my-kids-about-coronavirus-bolduan/index.html

These articles talk about managing our anxiety as parents — before we speak with our children. This can be a really tough thing to manage, if you are already feeling stressed and anxious about your separation. 

For adults, it is important to continue to access support which can help deal with stress and anxiety. There are online resources available, such as:

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/

https://mindspot.org.au/

https://thiswayup.org.au/

https://www.lifeline.org.au/

Additionally, many psychologists and counsellors are continuing to see patients through this period. You can approach your General Practitioner for a mental health care plan, which will allow you to obtain a Medicare rebate for sessions with a clinical psychologist. General information about Medicare cover for mental health care can be found here:

https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/whats-covered-medicare/mental-health-care-and-medicare

In light of the current COVID-19 situation, the Australian Government has temporarily extended rebates for bulk-billed mental health services to those who are isolated on the advice of a medical practitioner or in accordance with government directives, those who meet testing guidelines, people over 70, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 50, those who are immunocompromised or with chronic conditions, and parents who are pregnant or have new babies.  For more information see:

https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/covid-19-national-health-plan-primary-care-bulk-billed-mbs-telehealth-services_2.pdf

It's important to take care of not only your physical health, but also your mental health, while this situation persists.  If you have concerns about how COVID-19 will impact your family law matter, please contact Lander & Rogers.

Further information

All information on this site is of a general nature only and is not intended to be relied upon as, nor to be a substitute for, specific legal professional advice. No responsibility for the loss occasioned to any person acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material published can be accepted.