The NSW Mental Health Comission is urging people from the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and Western Riverina to have a say about the impacts on their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic and related NSW lockdowns.
Commissioner Catherine Lourey is urging Griffith, Leeton and Narrandera residents, as well as residents from other areas of western NSW who experienced strict lockdowns to complete an online survey to share their experiences and help improve government and community understanding of how people with lived experience of a mental health issue and their carers, families and kinship groups have fared during 2021.
"We want to hear what people went through in terms of their wellbeing as we know there were many challenges experienced across the community, and this impacted people differently," Ms Lourey said.
This is the second survey by the Commission on the mental health lessons from COVID-19 in NSW and builds on the findings from the previous survey of the 2020 lockdowns, which found that people in NSW experienced both positive and negative outcomes due to the pandemic.
Around half the NSW population accessed some type of formal or informal support to help them deal with the pandemic last year and about a third reported feeling more anxious, stressed, lonely or less in control in 2020.
"We know that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on residents across South-West and Western Sydney," Ms Lourey said.
"People with a lived experience of mental health issues, and those who care for them, may be feeling particularly vulnerable or isolated as we deal with 'pandemic fatigue' from the ongoing upheaval to our lives.
"We want to hear from people about their experiences first-hand, not only about the health and social implications of the 2021 restrictions on health and wellbeing, but also how they've managed their own and each other's wellbeing."
The survey is open at bit.ly/mhc-covid-survey until December 6, 2021 to anyone 18 years and older living in NSW. It should take around 10-15 minutes to complete, and all responses are anonymous and confidential.
The findings will help the Commission identify the most appropriate strategies to support mental health and wellbeing as NSW moves towards post-pandemic life. The results will be shared with the NSW Government and the community.
The 2020 survey also found that almost one-in-10 people across NSW were diagnosed with a new mental health issue during the year.
Ninety-four per cent identified positive lessons they had learnt from COVID-19 and related events
The vast majority, across all age groups and genders, increased their use of various communication methods.
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