Although most topics of conversation in the news, amongst your friends and elsewhere seem to always revolve around the current pandemic, there is one effect of COVID-19 that isn’t getting much attention. The impact of changes, cancellations, disappointments, and setbacks related to COVID-19 on our mental health has been undeniable and is causing a dramatic rise in depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicide which is set to continue for years.
When we were first locked down not too long-ago last year, our team was no longer able to access our workshop in order to make progress on our car or other on-campus spaces for team meetings and other important events. This sudden shift in routine can have detrimental effects on our mental health, as our brains rely on regular and healthy routines in order to maintain motivation and balance. With a quick shift to online-based activities also came huge uncertainty in regard to major events and initiatives we had planned for the year alongside growing disappointment as events were cancelled, postponed or adjusted due to the new restrictions. Constant uncertainty and frequent disappointments can present significant challenges in minimising stress and keeping a positive outlook, all important things for a healthy mind.
The new nature of university life and our interactions as a team has also meant time collaborating and socialising has been dramatically altered and often reduced in general. This isolation that we have all felt at some point or another can make it more and more difficult to remain positive, gain support and ask for help when you most need it.
That’s why we are so supportive of our partner Cars for Hope, a fantastic non-profit group of automotive enthusiasts who are passionate about their work and good mental health. Through their website, social media pages and various events, the organisation aims to raise awareness of depression, anxiety and self-injury within the automotive community and encouraging those struggling with these issues to have hope and seek help. Their understanding of the stigma still attached to mental illness and seeking support for your mental health in Australia has caused them to encourage conversations about mental health, which we believe is invaluable in reducing the prevalence of the issue.
We particularly love their appreciation of the power of like-minded people coming together and having constructive conversations that can help those struggling feel supported. Although there have been challenges that have prevented us interacting face-to-face for most last year and the foreseeable future, we are still just as ready, if not more ready, to talk to each other and help each other where needed. It’s never been more important to start up a conversation with those you know, no matter how long it’s been, to make sure we’re all looking out for each other, and in the words of Cars for Hope, to envision recovery, health and change.
For confidential support call the Lifeline 24-hour crisis support on: 13 11 14
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
For more information on Cars For Hope
Emily James – Media Assistant
Frank Yam – Creative Director