Anxiety related to Covid is on the rise, with more Geelong patients experiencing stress from contracting Covid or missing planned activities. Read these expert tips for managing anxiety.

Anxiety surrounding the coronavirus is mounting, with Geelong health experts reporting an increase in patients experiencing stress from contracting Covid or missing planned activities.

Psychologist Chris Mackey said a growing number of clients are concerned about uncertainty about the impact of Covid on their lives and daily activities.

He said there had been a general shift where many people had now “come to terms with the idea that they’re going to get Covid” and now seemed less afraid of the omicron variant of the virus.

But Mr Mackey said people remained concerned about passing the virus on to their vulnerable and elderly family members.

“There’s the uncertainty and people are concerned about how they’re going to be affected,” he said.

“This includes many young adults who are concerned about missing events after being separated from their social groups.

“They show a penchant for catching it…not only have they reconciled themselves to being likely to catch it or allow it, but they prefer to catch it at the same time as their friends.”

“It is all the more important to stay in touch with the peer group.”

Mr Mackey said psychologists across the region had seen patients who were frustrated, suspicious and felt a lack of control because of the current situation.

He said people can take small steps to help manage this, including setting modest goals and focusing on things that can be planned, like exercise.

GP and spokesperson for the Western Victorian Primary Health Network, Dr. Anne Stephenson said GPs were seeing a significant increase in stress and anxiety in the community related to Covid.

“People worry that if they have Covid they will be abandoned,” she said.

“They need to know that GPs care for them, but most importantly in a way that maintains access to health services for the community.”

dr Stephenson said GPs also see widespread concern about the spread of Covid, the health system’s ability to treat existing medical conditions and the impact of the coronavirus on people’s ability to reach ambulances and emergency care.

“There is also increasing frustration with delays and this is causing confrontations between patients and both health workers and receptionists,” she said.

dr Stephenson said while health services have been under pressure, people should still seek urgent help if they need it and avoid delaying treatment.

Barwon Health spokeswoman Kate Bibby said the agency’s mental health services have also experienced increased demand from children, adolescents and adults seeking care.

“While there are often multiple reasons a person presents for mental health care, there is no doubt that the uncertainty surrounding Covid is affecting the mental health and well-being of our community and contributing to this increased demand,” she said.

Barwon Health’s psychiatric services are available 24 hours a day on our hotline 1300 094 187.

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