Psychiatrist Dr Jon Lane answers your mental health questions.
This year, we have all had to manage a huge amount of stress and uncertainty.
What is the best way to manage stress and look after our mental health during this time? What’s the difference between stress and depression? What are the biggest misconceptions about mental health? How do you support a friend?
Psychiatrist Dr Jon Lane runs a peer counselling support group for veterans and emergency services workers at risk of Post-Traumatic Stress, which is supported by THRF Group charity Military and Emergency Services Health Australia.
He offers some important reminders for all of us:
“If you’re navigating a hard time in your life, focus on the basics,” Dr Lane says.
“The first one is sleep. Make sure you have a protected sleep space, restrict your access to caffeine and alcohol after 5pm, and restrict access to tech before bed.
“Make sure that you’re exercising, because it’s a way of burning off stress. It doesn’t have to be a power walk, just go for a walk.
“Another thing you should do is have active social supports. These are people who you like, and they like you and make you feel good by being around them.
“And the next thing you can do is to see a professional – this could be a counsellor or therapist, but a visit to your GP is your first port of call. If you see someone early and get a diagnosis and treatment, your recovery is much much quicker.”
For further help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.