Don't feel like your normal self?

These are strange and trying times and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic—lockdowns, isolation, and the pressure of home schooling—may have made you anxious and stressed. Everyone handles mental health challenges differently, and sometimes it’s hard to know where to turn or what to do. 

man talking on mobile phone looking at city

A solution to this problem could be Mental Health Navigator run by Best Doctors® through MLC Life Insurance. This free and confidential service is open to TelstraSuper members and your immediate family, even if you don’t hold insurance in your TelstraSuper account. 

Mental Health Navigator gives you access to a network of leading clinical psychologists and psychiatrists who can provide you with expert mental health guidance. Within 48 hours of making contact you’ll have an initial discussion with a Best Doctors® dedicated mental health nurse. They will assess your needs and then within 10 days you’ll speak with an expert who can provide specialist support. Through video phone discussions they’ll review your mental health condition and suggest a clear action plan.  

Your mental health is not something that should be ignored, so if you are feeling like you need a check-up or even a simple conversation, please give the Mental Health Navigator a call. 

The Best Doctors® experts understand life can be tough at the moment, so let’s hear from a few of them on the added pressures of the pandemic and what you can expect when you make an appointment

How has the pandemic changed the perception of mental health/well-being?

Dr Max Mollenkopf - Lead Clinical Supervisor

I think the pandemic has put a lot of peoples’ mental health through a stress test, not dissimilar to that of a treadmill test we use to diagnose heart disease. When we do a stress test, we put people under increasing loads until one of two things happens — the test ends, or the organ shows signs of failure. Well over 12 months of uncertainty, separation, loneliness, and adjustment has placed so much stress on so many people, and I think we are only seeing a fraction of those who need some extra help.

Dr Carly Reid - Clinical Psychologist

Additionally, the things that people usually use to maintain their mental health are less available now, such as gyms, social events, and holidays. There is also an increase in broad stressors, such as uncertainty and health-related fears, as well as specific stressors, such as supporting home schooling, working from home, pressure on relationships, financial and job stress.

Dr Lorelle Drew - Consultant Psychiatrist

There has also been an increased need for support and care as evidenced by the massive uptake of helplines and Emergency Department attendances. In addition, we have been able to access virtual health care across the population in Australia with huge benefits; people can be seen safely in relation to COVID-19 and without the stress and disruption of long travel, parking, childcare arrangements, etc. It is much easier to access your general practitioner (GP), psychiatrists, and psychologists through virtual health care with timelier treatment and recovery as a result.

What can somebody expect in their first appointment with you?

Dr Lorelle Drew - Consultant Psychiatrist

In a first appointment with me, a psychiatrist, we usually spend time talking about what led you to see me and how you’re feeling in yourself. By the end of the appointment, I will usually discuss what I think is going on and perhaps discuss a diagnosis as well as treatment, which might include a health check-up, counselling, and possibly medication.

Dr Carly Reid - Clinical Psychologist

That’s quite similar to when you see a psychologist. You will have the opportunity to ask questions, and I will ask you questions, such as what brought you to therapy, and what your goals are for these sessions. By the end of these sessions (it can sometimes be more than one), I will discuss what treatment options are available.

What are some of the consequences of delaying access to mental health support?

Dr Lorelle Drew - Consultant Psychiatrist

Mental health illnesses interrupt our lives and can lead to poor functioning at work and at home, poor sleep and self-care, social isolation, and it can lead to negative thoughts about yourself and even suicidal ideas. Therefore, it is important to treat the symptoms as soon as possible to improve these outcomes and to allow for recovery.

Contact Mental Health Navigator

If something is weighing you down, or you’re feeling stressed or anxious, reach out to Best Doctors. Call the Best Doctors Hotline on 1800 186 088 Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm (AEST) or contact Best Doctors online.

The information contained in the article is based on information provided to TelstraSuper by Best Doctors via through MLC Life Insurance.