As the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to impact us all, the Western Australian Association for Mental Health(WAMH) is committed to doing what we can to support our members, the community mental health sector, our government, our teams and the people we work with, people with lived experience, and the broader community to stay safe, well and connected.
What is happening at WAAMH?
We are continuing to work collaboratively with government and other services to ensure a cohesive response to current events. We are also a key voice for the community mental health sector, raising your concerns to government and communicating government responses and updates as we receive them. We are strongly committed to representing and supporting you at this time, and this will continue to be our key focus.
WAAMH staff transitioned to work at home
We have prepared well for this and our team has good access to technology that enables us to continue to connect efficiently with our stakeholders. Whilst our physical office will is closed. we are able to participate in virtual meetings and we are all available by email and phones. In short, we expect minimal disruption to most elements of our service delivery.
Training and events suspended
This is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of participants and training facilitators. Our training team, and our Practice and Sector Development Manager are still available to provide practice support as required to the sector. We will re-schedule training courses as soon as it is safe to do so. Hopefully, Mental Health Week events will still go ahead by October when we all be in need of coming together, but we will follow Government advice and guidelines closer to that time.
We are also exploring delivering some of our professional development mental health courses through digital platforms - more info to come.
In responding to the challenges posed by COVID-19, our aims are to:
Promote connectedness and care for each other: These are unprecedented times and many people may find that it is difficult to maintain good mental wellbeing at this time. Whilst we may all need to be physically distant from each other, WAAMH champions ways in which we can still connect and support each other.
Recommended resources for self-care and supporting others:
Community mental health service directory: https://waamh.org.au/support
Grow's adapting its mental health support at this time: https://www.grow.org.au/covid-19-update-we-are-here/
Follow @MentalHealthWeekWA on Facebook for daily tips and advice to stay mentally healthy
#InThisTogether - https://headtohealth.gov.au/covid-19-support/covid-19
Disseminate recommended sources of reliable and current information: We are aware that government and other organisations are also providing information and support. Part of WAAMH’s approach is to disseminate information from those other sources to our stakeholders. This is to increase awareness and understanding of the issues and the current resources available, whilst not overloading with more information.
Recommended sources of COVID-19 information:
World Health Organisation (WHO): https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/events-as-they-happen
https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert (Federal Government information)
https://www.wa.gov.au/government/coronavirus-covid-19(Western Australian Government information)
Support our workers: Some workers across the sector will continue their front-line roles whilst others will shift to working from home. WAAMH will provide information and links to resources that can assist employers and workers at this time.
This is an Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Toolkit: https://apo.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=fb065f673c883360df70943fb&id=6344cadd57&e=61dd35d521
Developed by Mental Health Online, this is a useful resource for workers moving from face-to-face to online delivery of some support and therapeutic services. Download here.
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/sbs-launches-online-portal-to-provide-in-language-coronavirus-information - multilingual online portal to provide the latest news on the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in Australia, as well as features explaining government policy and health advice in 63 languages.
Be flexible and responsive to the community mental health sector: Whilst WAAMH has made reasonable and measured adjustments to our ways of working to promote health and safety, we will continue to be accessible to our stakeholders.
WAAMH has already had productive meetings with government, including the Mental Health Commission which has established a Mental Health and AOD Taskforce, and we will continue to keep you updated here.
We are keen to know what would be helpful to you from your peak body. With this in mind, if you are a community mental health service provider, please let us know how you, your staff, your clients and your service in general is coping by contacting: Chelsea McKinney, Advocacy and Sector Development Manager at CMCKinney@waamh.org.au