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16 April 2020

RACGP on mental health toll of COVID-19: Your GP is there to help

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is urging patients to talk to their GP if they have concerns about their mental health.

Reports have emerged today concerning the significant impact the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown is having on the mental health of Australians. A poll has found that half of all people are feeling isolated and an even greater number suffering stress.

RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said that GPs are there to help.

“Professor McGorry’s concerns are certainly well-founded and I completely agree that this pandemic will weigh on many people’s mental health for some time.

“People are isolated, they don’t have the same connection to their community, their family or their usual routines and of course some are losing jobs and homes. The fact of one third of people are sleeping less is a significant concern.

“So please if you have concerns about your mental health book an appointment with your GP, they may schedule a mental health plan to help get you through what you are experiencing.”

Dr Nespolon said that fighting the stigma around mental health was vital and that a face-to-face consultation wasn’t necessary.

“There is no shame in reaching out, other people are experiencing something similar to you – it’s really important to understand that.

“Remember, you don’t have to visit the clinic in person if you are worried about contracting COVID-19.

“We have expanded telehealth and telephone consultations available for everyone so please take advantage of them.

“You don’t have to use video consultation platforms such as Skype to talk to your GP if you don’t feel confident using them, an old-fashioned phone will do just fine.”

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Journalists and media outlets seeking comment and information from the RACGP can contact John Ronan, Ally Francis and Stuart Winthrope via: