It’s okay to wear a face mask says psychiatrists’ president

16 July 2020

When we venture out in public these days, it is more and more common to see people wearing face masks and this is a good thing.

The President of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists says while we can all expect to experience a range of feelings as people begin to wear face masks, choosing to wear one can be a positive experience which helps keep you and others safe.

‘I believe it’s important for people to understand that it’s okay to wear face masks and it’s a good choice to make,’ said Associate Professor John Allan.

‘This is especially the case where community transmission of the virus is possible and physical distancing is more difficult to practise, such as in shopping centres, markets or on public transport.

‘Wearing a face mask is a very community-minded and selfless practice which can help protect you and those around you, particularly if you are around people of older age or with other chronic conditions.

‘The best ways for us all to help reduce the spread of the virus is to continue with the recommended measures such as washing your hands regularly, coughing or sneezing into your elbow or tissue and physical distancing.

Associate Professor Allan emphasised that while wearing face masks would not provide perfect protection they are likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 if they are widely used by people in public settings.

‘Wearing a face mask can provide an additional physical barrier to protect you and the people you love.

‘I think this last point is sometimes missed; wearing a mask is not just about protecting ourselves,’ said Associate Professor Allan.

‘It’s actually in large part about considering and caring for others in the community. We know that acts of altruism or helping others is good for our mental health. So be proud to wear a face mask.’


ENQUIRIES: For more information, or to arrange an interview call Sarah Carr on +61 437 315 911, or email

For all other expert mental health information, visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.