Changes to Mental Health Services for Australians during the COVID19 Pandemic

There are so many changes that we have experienced during the past weeks in relation to the Coronavirus. Whilst these changes may be different for us all, they are all changes to the way we experience our life.

This week we made the decision to stop offering face-to-face appointments for our clients at Whole Psychology. We are not closing the practice, in fact our decision to stop offering face-to-face appointments is to try and prevent this from happening. It is important to us that we can continue to offer you support during this challenging time. By offering telehealth and phone appointments we are minimising your risk by leaving your house to attend the appointments and sitting in a shared waiting area, and also our risk as we are seeing multiple clients a day from different areas and professions. By doing this we hope you all stay healthy and so do we so that our sessions together can continue over the coming months.

I am sure many of you will have questions about how these changes will work, when they start and what you will need to do. I have updated our website and added a document to help explain the changes here.  I will also be looking to add resources to the website for useful tipsheets and tools that might help in the coming months so keep checking in on the website to access these.

For now stay healthy and stay at home if you can and we will see/ hear you soon via telehealth/phone.

 

Tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety

For the last month or so clients have been mentioning coronavirus and their worries about the impact on their own life and life in general. Over the past week I’ve noticed an increase in awareness and worry experienced within the general community and also for my clients. I’d be lying if I said my own worry hadn’t been more at the forefront of my mind also.

A colleague of mine forwarded me some Tip sheets the Australian Psychological Society (APS) had issued for use and when I loaded the link I realised that they have made them available to the public not just members of the APS. I’m putting the link here so you can also view them as there is some good information for you.

I think though regardless of what changes we may experience in the coming days, weeks and months we are not alone. Whilst our experiences may differ, we are all being asked to make changes, sacrifices, choices without knowing all the information or the consequences. If we can support one another with these then we will not be alone and we will get through this.

A Lived Experience

I am obviously an advocate for help seeking behaviour when it comes to mental health. I recognise that help comes in a number of ways and that therapy is just one of those options. I also recognise that not everyone who does seek help is ready to make the changes and that what works for one may not work for another.

What I have found to be true though is that someone sharing their journey and their lived experience of mental health touches nearly everyone. The interpretation and messages received may be different to each person but that willingness to be open and genuine about their experience speaks to people.

This clip of Lucy sharing her lived experience is one of these messages. She speaks openly about her journey with an Eating Disorder in an open and genuine way and invites you in to share her story. She doesn’t use fancy language or medical terminology, she is simply herself.

I am sharing this today with you all in recognition of the courage Lucy has found to share her story and her desire to share it with you all in the hope that others may seek help and that she may be a part of other people’s journey and know that just through living her own experience she may also influence and be an inspiration to others.

Happy Holidays

Just a short note to let you all know the practice will be closed for the holidays from the 16th December. It will reopen again on the 12th January but on reduced hours until returning to usual hours again in February.

I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season and look forward to seeing you all again in 2018.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions….

So often I am asked by people ‘Am I making the right decision?’ To be honest I have a standard answer to fit every situation. Why the one answer you ask? I believe this answer to be true 100% of the time. So what’s my answer you ask? Well here it is – ‘There are never any right or wrong decisions, just choices to make’.

Seems a little simple and vague you say, let me explain a little more. When we are making decisions or choices as I prefer to call them, we are weighing up the pros and cons according to our past experiences, our knowledge and most importantly our values.  As no two individuals are exactly alike neither are their decision making process or choices. We cannot judge someone on our own processes and choices and we can never have a true understanding of how and why someone makes the choice they do. To be honest we don’t have to approve their decision just accept it and respect it as belonging to someone else.

So if this is true, and for me it is, people then ask ‘how do I make the right choice for me?’. Now here is when I can be a little more helpful and less philosophical. When you make choices it’s important that they be aligned with your values, what’s important to you. This is what drives your goals and ambitions in life and when you act, or make choices, aligned with these values then you are moving towards your goals and you feel good about yourself and your choices. It is when you make a decision that falls outside of what’s important to you that you compromise your values and consequently your mental health. I’m not saying you can compromise ever, in fact compromise is an important value of mine – trying to be flexible and try new things. What I am saying is when things are of great importance to you make choices that are aligned with your values. When you do then it’s as close as you will come to making the right decision for you!

Values are not set in stone and they change across the span of your life. What’s important to me today never even hit my radar when I was a student, or in my early adulthood. My values certainly aren’t aligned with those of my parents, and sometimes not with my friends or colleagues. I like that we can all be different and I respect someones right to have different values from those I have. In fact conversations are so much more interesting when they are and to be honest these conversations and experiences will shape changes in my value system as I grow.

It seems like every year, sometimes more than just once, something will happen in my life which ensures that I reevaluate where I am at in life and what’s important to me. When I do I like to come back to a little exercise that I did at a workshop once on values. Feel free to check it out yourself or maybe the values card exercise that a colleague of mine blogged about last month is more your style? Maybe give them a go and give yourself a break on the worry of if your decision is right or wrong and start being ok with it being the right choice for you at the time.