Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

COVID-19 and mental health

16-minute read

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help now, call triple zero (000). You can also call  Lifeline  on 13 11 14 — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

On this page

Maintaining your wellbeing

How do I look after my mental health during COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and continues to impact our mental health and wellbeing.

Feelings of anxiety, distress and concern are normal. However, there are several steps you can take to look after your mental health.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

  • Form a daily routine and plan activities that you enjoy, such as watching movies and engaging in your interests and hobbies.
  • Stay active — set up an exercise routine to keep you physically fit and decrease stress.
  • Eat well — a healthy diet will benefit your mind as well as your body.
  • Stay connected with your family and friends — if you can’t meet in person, you can remain in contact using phone, chat, email or video calls.

Stay informed

  • Get information from reliable, trusted sources to learn the precautions you need to take to stay healthy. You can find information on the COVID-19 support page of the Australian Government’s Head to Health initiative.

Stay positive

  • Look forward — while the pandemic is difficult, it will pass.
  • Be mindful about the way you 'talk' to yourself. Change negative self-talk to be more constructive and helpful. You can challenge your negative thoughts by asking yourself what you would say to a friend in the same situation.
  • Turn off the ‘noise’ — when people talk about their worries, it can create more stress. Turn off the ‘noise’ by taking time out from the news and social media and by keeping your distance from people who create stress.

Access support services

Nine signs of mental illness infographic

This infographic could point to a mental health issue in someone you love.

How can my GP help support my mental health?

Your GP isn’t just a good place to start if you need mental health advice and information; they can also help you access free or low-cost support.

Mental health treatment plans

Your GP can help prepare a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan that allows you to use the Better Access initiative. The Better Access initiative gives Medicare rebates to eligible people, so they can access the mental health services they need.

A Mental Health Treatment Plan provides you with access to 10 sessions a year with a specialised GP, other eligible medical practitioner, psychologist, social worker or occupational therapist. If you are eligible for Medicare and get a referral from your GP, you can access these sessions in person, over the phone or via telehealth. Until 30 June 2022, an additional 10 sessions will be available.

GP Mental Health Treatment Plans are also available to residents in aged-care facilities until 30 June 2022. Residents can talk to their GP to see if preparing a plan is appropriate.

If you need help to find a GP, including GPs who don’t charge their patients (known as bulk billing), visit healthdirect's service finder:

FIND A HEALTH SERVICE — The Service Finder can help you find doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and other health services.

You can also access the free online and telephone support services listed below.

Quarantine and self-isolation

How do I look after my mental wellbeing in quarantine?

Mandatory quarantine is an unfamiliar experience for most people, and it can be challenging. The Australian Government has produced a guide on how to prepare for quarantine and how to look after yourself.

Some ideas on how to spend your time in quarantine include the following:

  • Stay informed — visit and your state or territory government website for the latest news and information on COVID-19.
  • Set a daily schedule — try to structure your day to help you balance your time.
  • Exercise — staying healthy is important, so do exercise and stretches in your room.
  • Get enough sleep — research shows that not getting enough sleep can prevent your T-cells, a type of white blood cell, from fighting infection. Here are some tips to improve your sleep.
  • Do an online class or start to learn a new language.
  • Start a new hobby — examples of activities include drawing or knitting.
  • Catch up with family and friends online.
  • Learn yoga with an online instructional video.
  • Practise meditation — download Smiling Mind, a free mindfulness app developed for young people by psychologists and educators. It includes programs in a number of Aboriginal languages, including Kriol, Ngaanyatjarra and Pitjantjatjara.
  • Take a digital tour or listen to an online concert — many museums and galleries have virtual tours available on their websites.

You can also access a range of mental health support services when you are in mandatory quarantine.

Further, most quarantine facilities can provide you with access to on-call and in-person mental health support. Check with your quarantine provider about how to access this support.

How do I look after my mental wellbeing when self-isolating?

Some ways to take care of your mental health while you’re isolating include:

  • Keeping in touch with your family and friends via phone, video calls or social media.
  • Forming and keeping a daily routine such as showering and getting dressed each day, maintaining regular mealtimes and exercising at home.
  • Learning more about COVID-19 from credible sources, since this might help alleviate any anxiety.
  • Doing or trying new activities such as drawing or learning a language online.
  • Being outdoors such as in your backyard, a private courtyard or balcony, as it helps to get fresh air.

For more ideas on how to stay healthy in mandatory quarantine or at home, go here.

Support services

How can I access mental health support?

There are several mental health support services available in Australia. You can access them in person, online, over the phone or via telehealth services.

Dedicated online and telephone support services have been established during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure all Australians have access to mental health and wellbeing support.

Often the best place to start is by talking to your GP about what mental health services are available to you.

For more mental health information and support, can help. This national website brings together trusted information and resources, phone lines, apps, online programs and forums. Services listed are government-funded, so they are low cost or free to use.

The Australian Government provides a free service to support the mental health of people in NSW, the ACT and Victoria. It is called Head to Health in NSW and the ACT, and Head to Help in Victoria. Call 1800 595 212 from Monday to Friday, between 8:30am and 5pm (except public holidays), where you’ll speak to a mental-health professional. They will take the time to understand what's going on in your life and work with you to meet your needs. This may involve referring you to a pop-up mental-health hub, where you can choose from telehealth or COVID-safe face-to-face appointments with a mental-health professional.

For a list of locations, visit Head to Health (NSW and the ACT) and Head to Help (Victoria).

What online and telephone mental health support services are available?

Beyond Blue has launched the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service — a dedicated service for people who need counselling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Call 1800 512 348 to speak with a trained mental health professional (24 hours, 7 days a week).

Lifeline provides support to people experiencing emotional distress. You can speak with a trained crisis supporter:

  • over the phone on 13 11 14, available 24 hours 7 days a week
  • through online chat, every night from 7pm to midnight AET
  • via text on 0477 13 11 14, between 6pm and midnight AET, 7 days a week

Kids Helpline offers counselling to children and young adults (aged 5 to 25). Call 1800 55 1800 or go to

Young people can get support through headspace centres — whether in person at a centre, online or over the phone. There are more than 100 headspace centres across Australia.

The Raising Healthy Minds app, developed by the Raising Children Network, has information, ideas and guidance for parents to help them provide support for their child’s mental health and wellbeing. Free from Google Play and the App Store.

The Black Dog Institute has created a dedicated mental health and wellbeing program for frontline health workers called 'TEN — The Essential Network for Health Professionals'. The program includes an app.

The Australian Government has a developed a fact sheet that contains digital and telehealth support services, including services for vulnerable people and those with severe and complex needs.

Each state and territory also offers a mental health service to help you access local support.

  • ACT — Canberra Health Services Access Mental Health on 1800 629 354 or 02 6205 1065 (available 24/7)
  • NSW — Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 (available 24/7)
  • NT — Northern Territory Mental Health Line on 1800 682 288 (available 24/7)
  • Queensland — 1300 MH CALL: Mental health access line on 1300 642 255 (available 24/7)
  • SA — SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line on 1800 632 753  (available 8.00am to 8.00pm)
  • Tasmania — Mental Health Service Helpline on 1800 332 388
  • Victoria — Head to Help on 1800 595 212 (available 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)
  • WA — Mental Health Emergency Response Line on 1300 555 733 (metro) or 1800 676 822 (Peel) (available 24/7)

If English is not your first language you can call TIS National on 131 450 or visit to speak with an interpreter. TIS National covers more than 100 languages and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the cost of a local call.


Where can I get more information and advice on mental health?

You can speak to your GP about what mental health services are available to you.

Lifeline has put together a resource to help people cope through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phoenix Australia (the Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health) has prepared tip sheets to support people during COVID-19.

The Black Dog Institute has developed a resource for parents to reassure their children through uncertain times.

Mindspot has developed 10 psychological tips for coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. They have also developed an online Wellbeing Plus course for Australians over the age of 60 to help them recognise and manage symptoms of anxiety and depression. has also developed resources to help people manage any stress and anxiety they might feel.

This Way Up provides access to free online tools and courses to help with practical ways to protect and improve mental health. They have also developed a free, email-based program specifically designed to support you throughout quarantine and self-isolation.

Information in other languages

If you prefer a language other than English, the Australian Government has developed several translated factsheets on how to take care of your mental wellbeing during COVID-19.

Beyond Blue also has one-page fact sheets translated into more than 60 different languages.

Looking for more information?

Visit healthdirect's information hubs on mental health and wellbeing and COVID-19.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: November 2021

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

COVID-19 | SA Health

Health information about coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for South Australians. Find COVID-19 testing clinics and read the latest health updates and advice on COVID-19.

Read more on SA Health website

Appendix B: Government announcements relating to COVID-19, bushfires and mental health - National Mental Health Commission

Appendix B: Government announcements relating to COVID-19, bushfires and mental health Australian Government   Announcement Extract Date Website The Australian Government will establish a new agency with an initial $2 billion for a National Bushfire Recovery Fund to coordinate a national response to rebuild communities and livelihoods after the devastating fire-front has passed

Read more on National Mental Health Commission website

National COVID and Disaster Response - National Mental Health Commission

The Commission has worked to support the mental health responses to national disasters including bushfires, drought, floods and COVID-19.

Read more on National Mental Health Commission website


The outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19 has impacted people in varying ways on an international scale. It is understandable that during times like this, people may be feeling afraid, worried, anxious, and overwhelmed by the constantly changing alerts and media coverage regarding the spread of the virus.

Read more on Lifeline website

Mental Health & Coronavirus Webinar Series - Black Dog Institute

Connecting our audiences and stakeholders to the best possible mental health evidence related to COVID-19 through this dedicated webinar series.

Read more on Black Dog Institute website

Long COVID looking after your mental health - Beyond Blue

We look at ways manage your mental health if you have long COVID, or are anxious about developing it.

Read more on Beyond Blue website

COVID-19 Online Support and Resources COVID-19 THIS WAY UP |

Learn practical tips and strategies that can support your emotional well-being during times of stress and uncertainty brought on by COVID-19.

Read more on This Way Up website

COVID-19 SUPPORT VIDEO How to manage your emotional wellbeing

COVID-19 SUPPORT VIDEO How to manage your emotional wellbeing

Read more on Gidget Foundation Australia website

Mentally Healthy Workplaces - National Mental Health Commission

Find out how the Commission is working towards a nationally consistent approach to workplace mental health.

Read more on National Mental Health Commission website

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) COVID-19 Corona virus

stressful and overwhelming during an event like the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and we can all be affected differently. You might feel overwhelmed by the information, conversations and the increased levels of stress in your community. It can be hard to know what information to trust especially in a situation where things are changing so quickly. It can be helpful to keep up-to-date but it’s also okay to switch off from the 24 hour media cycle if this is getting too much.

Read more on headspace website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.