ANU: Schedule “worry time” in your diary to look after yourself

Putting aside “worry time” in your diary sounds counterintuitive, but this is a very good technique to help you feel calmer, ANU mental health expert Dr Amelia Gulliver says.

Amelia told On&Off Campus about this evidence-based tip ahead of her involvement in the virtual World Mental Health Day panel discussion to be hosted by ANU and Mental Health Australia on Friday.

“Often when you do this, you find that not only does it help you to feel calmer at the time, but when you go back to these worries at the end of the day, they may not bother you so much anymore,” Amelia, from the ANU Research School of Population Health says.

She says when we are feeling low and the future is uncertain, it can be hard to think that things will ever get better.

“Help is always available. If you’ve been feeling distressed, it’s important to seek help,” Amelia says.

“From our research, we know that many people who had learned techniques in how to manage their own mental health prior to the first lockdown in Australia have used them to cope during lockdown.”

Amelia researches the role technology can have in improving our access to mental health services and support.

“We know there have been large spikes in the number of people searching and accessing sources of help for mental health online during lockdowns in Australia,” she says.

Technology-based mental health programs are highly effective, anonymous and available 24/7, Amelia says.

“Many online programs are free, are developed by leading mental health research institutions in Australia, and provide evidence-based treatment for many common mental health problems including depression and anxiety,” she says.

Amelia says being at home in lockdown is an ideal time to learn new skills in how to manage your own mental health.

“There are online programs that can appeal to all age groups, and can be accessed from a range of personal devices, including mobiles, tablets and computers,” she says.

Amelia says if you need help see your general practitioner or use any of the free services listed below.

“However, please call emergency services on 000 if you need urgent medical help,” she says.

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