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Coping in isolation - mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

27 March 2020

On this episode, we discuss how to care for mental health during an unprecedented period of community isolation due to the coronavirus.

While the world is focused on tackling the immediate danger from COVID-19, the physical isolation required to stop the spread can have a significant impact on people’s mental health. Serious financial pressures, job losses, and anxiety about the future have made it hard for many to cope. So, with Australia’s mental health system struggling before the crisis, how will it cope with any increased demand? What role can telehealth play in alleviating some of the burden? And what are ordinary members of the community doing to support each other in this challenging time?

On this episode of Policy Forum Pod, our panel - Luis Salvador-Carulla and Sebastian Rosenberg - discusses how policymakers can support the population’s mental health, and how people can maintain a sense of social connection during this period of isolation.

Professor Luis Salvador-Carulla is Head of the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Research School of Population Health at The Australian National University. He has been advisor to the Government of Catalonia in Spain, the Spanish Ministry of Health, the European Commission, and the World Health Organization on mental health and disability policy.

Dr Sebastian Rosenberg is a Fellow in the Learning and Development Unit at ANU Centre for Mental Health Research and Senior Lecturer at the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney. He was a public servant for 16 years, working in health in both state and federal governments.

Martyn Pearce is a presenter for Policy Forum Pod and the Editor of Policy Forum.

If you or anyone you know needs help:

Lifeline on 13 11 14 Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36

Lifeline and Beyond Blue also both have information specifically for looking after your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Policy Forum Pod is available on Acast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Subscribe on Android or wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear your feedback for this podcast series! Send in your questions, comments, or suggestions for future episodes to You can also Tweet us @APPSPolicyForum or join us on the Facebook group.

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