pandemic has a strain on mental health

As we face our second Stage 3 lockdown, I know many in the community are finding it more difficult than the first. Isolated from friends and family, facing the second round of remote learning and the daily rise in cases making some feel the light at the end of the tunnel has gotten a bit more distant.
In times like this, I feel it is vital we care for our mental health as much as our physical. Just as we remember to wash our hands, stay home if unwell and place on our mask as we leave the house, we must check in with loved ones via Zoom or phone, take a moment for ourselves when feeling overwhelmed, go for a walk and make sure we are easy on ourselves.
My thoughts go out to our local small businesses, battling to keep their doors open for the second time, and all that have been forced to close again. As a previous small business owner, I know how hard it is on an average day, let alone when facing a pandemic. I encourage everyone in the community, where safe to continue to support our local businesses where possible to ensure they remain in our community when we get to the other side of this pandemic.
There are many ways in which we can look after each other, shop local where safe, pick up the phone and ask “Are you ok?”, socially distance, get tested if you have any symptoms and more importantly self-isolate while you await your results.
2020 has already brought up many challenges, but we need to remind ourselves that we are all in this together and just like last time we will get through this second lockdown.
If you are or know someone that is struggling to cope, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or if you feel more comfortable to text you can text 0477 13 11 14 from 6.00 pm-midnight, and a Lifeline crisis supporter will text you back.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and as a community, we will come out stronger. Please remember your mental health is just as important as your physical, and we must all take care of one another.
Do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions or enquiries on 5953 0216 or via brad.battin@parliament.vic.gov.au.