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New research: Two in five Australians’ mental health impacted by COVID

The pandemic has affected people's sense of security, safety and hopefulness for the future.

New research by Australian Red Cross has found two in five Australians say their mental health has been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

A similar number say they feel less hopeful about the future, and 37% feel less secure and safe.

The survey of 1013 people around Australia in July was commissioned by Red Cross as part of its annual campaign to encourage people in Australia to prepare for disasters ahead.

Head of Emergency Services at Australian Red Cross Andrew Coghlan says it also found that despite the current pandemic, and people's sense of uncertainty about the future, the research found most people hadn’t thought about preparing for future outbreaks of contagious diseases. 

“Some 72% of people we surveyed said they didn’t believe you can prepare for a pandemic, while 42% said they felt less control over the future than before the pandemic,” Mr Coghlan said.

“We also looked at the effect of compound disasters, or the cumulative effect of disasters on people who have experienced more than one disaster.

“Some 37% of people had lived through more than one disaster in the last 18 months, including bushfires, floods or COVID-19. More people who experienced compound disasters reported a negative impact on their mental health, sense of security and safety and sense of hopefulness for the future than Australians who had not experienced more than one disaster."

Mr Coghlan said there are things people can do to regain a sense of control, and prepare for the inevitable disasters ahead.

“The better prepared people are, the better their experience of a disaster is when it hits, and the better their recovery. There are excellent resources on the Red Cross website at redcross.org.au/prepare including steps to create your own emergency plan, to download the Red Cross Get Prepared app, checklists for survival and resources and videos in other languages.”

Four simple steps can make you better prepared for any emergency

Get in the know about your risks, where to get information, and how to manage stress

Get connected by identifying emergency contacts, meeting places, and people who can help 

Get organised with important documents, medical information, insurance and pet plans 

Get packing with a list to help you survive and personal items that are important to you