The unprecedented COVID-19 way of life has brought immense stress to the Australian population, new data from Priceline shows
Experts have been warning of a looming mental health crisis with the combination of isolation and economic downturn, while many people have found isolation difficult, with one third of Australians feeling isolated and alone during COVID-19.
A new national survey of more than 100 Priceline Pharmacists has reported a spike in people seeking professional advice on managing stress and overcoming sleeping disorders.
The survey revealed that 64% of pharmacists have seen an increase in demand for help with sleep management, and over half (54%) report an increase in requests for help to boost mood or manage anxiety.
Most people requesting help are aged between 30-40, suggesting that young families are under the most pressure, Priceline says.
In pharmacists’ dealings with those seeking help, 40% said that up to half of cases were a direct result of COVID-19 related social and economic pressures.
Priceline says that this aligns with recent research from The Lab & Nature, that revealed the combination of not being able to see friends, economic and job uncertainty and less social interactions from COVID-19 had a negative impact on nearly half (46%) of Australians.
Understanding ways to manage stress and sleep is a very common question asked of pharmacists Priceline Pharmacist Nancy El-Miski says.
“We have many customers seeking professional advice on managing stress and sleeplessness.
“They are seeking information and recommendations on natural remedies and over the counter products.
“This has certainly increased since the COVID-19 pandemic, with one in three of our pharmacists reporting an increase in demand during the time. “
She offered tips for consumers to try and manage stress and sleeplessness:
- Try to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine
- Engage in regular physical activity
- Eat a healthy diet
- Try relaxation techniques
- Manage your time – with to do lists and even a stress diary
- Talk to someone – talking about your concerns can be helpful
Despite the emotional hardships resulting from COVID 19, 74% Australians have never used counselling services and are not intending to.
Ms El-Miski says she wants to ensure that customers coming in are asking for advice and which services are appropriate, such as Lifeline, Beyond Blue or Headspace.
“We know there is a heightened stress in the community. We work very closely with GPs and other health professionals to encourage our customers to seek professional advice on all aspects of their health – particularly mental health. There are great services available that can really be of help.”
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36
Headspace 1800 650 890
Pharmacists Support Service 1300 244 910