Don’t wait! Is the simple message from the President of the peak psychiatry body

25 May 2020
 
 
 

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) is urging everyone to seek professional advice for any mental or physical health issues if they aren’t feeling well.

Now is the time to seek help for any medical condition or symptoms you may have whether it's mental or physical.

‘If you are feeling unwell, seek advice from a health professional now – don’t wait. Seeking help will support your emotional and mental health, now and into the future’ said RANZCP President, Associate Professor John Allan.

Since the onset of the pandemic there has been higher levels of reported anxiety and psychological distress in the general population, but this is not being accompanied by higher levels of patient contact with mental health and support services.

‘Early action is critical for preventing or reducing the advance of mental illness, but also to ensure a person’s ongoing mental and physical health, socio-economic outcomes, community engagement and quality of life well into the future.

‘This is concerning because experience and evidence tell us that fewer presentations does not mean fewer people living with mental ill health – people who feel mentally unwell, and do not seek help, are at further risk of getting worse.

‘There has been an overall drop in patient presentations for a range of physical and mental health concerns and people are beginning to lose touch with their established services and supports.

‘As we exercise caution, it’s easy to fall out of our routines and let things slide.’

‘Perhaps you have stopped your regular mental health appointments, disengaged from valuable group therapies or run out of medication.’

‘It is important for people under the care of a psychiatrist to continue with regular treatment to address immediate symptoms and to stop persistent and fluctuating conditions from returning.

‘It can also feel daunting if all of a sudden you find yourself in circumstances you only ever thought happened to others, never previously having experienced mental health concerns. But there are a lot of effective treatments and ways to get help, as well as some simple first steps you can take.’

‘We are also acutely aware of the increased stress on families and carers, and the impact that providing essential care and support for others in changing and challenging circumstances may be having on their mental health.

‘If you have delayed seeking help even though you are unwell, especially if your mental health is deteriorating, it is vitally important that you talk to your general practitioner or mental health professional to get the advice and care you need immediately – don’t wait.

‘Similarly if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat, tiredness, difficulty breathing and headache or joint pain, amongst other things, the message is the same – don’t wait, seek medical advice and get tested’.

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

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