Mental health: How Covid has affected different ages, genders and sectors of employment in Australia

All ages, genders and professions have been affected by the pandemic. If your sanity is suffering, you are not alone.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the mental health problems of many Australians, but the silver lining is that it has also brought the once taboo subject to light.

Whether it’s isolation from friends and family, the stress of home schooling, or economic uncertainty, few have been spared in the past 18 months.

New research from mental health organization WayAhead reveals how the pandemic has affected different parts of the community and shows anyone struggling that they are not alone.


Young Australians have been particularly affected, but all generations have struggled.

WayAhead poll shows respondents aged 18-24 are most likely to have experienced stress and anxiety (60 percent report it), difficulty concentrating (37 percent), decreased productivity (45 percent), negative thoughts (48 percent), and loneliness (53%) during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, people aged 25 to 34 are the most likely to have had difficulty extinguishing (36%) and those aged 45 to 54 are the most likely to have had trouble sleeping ( 41%).

The most common problems among older people are stress and anxiety (46 percent of people aged 55 to 64) and loneliness (28 percent of people 65 and older).

Asha Zappa, head of mental health promotion and the WayAhead program, says social connection is crucial for well-being, especially for young people.

“The research also indicated that they were negatively affected by the job security concerns with many young people studying and working in the companies and sectors most affected by the pandemic – retail and hospitality,” she declared.

Zappa says fewer older Australians have reported problems and part of this may be explained by their stage of life.

“Although the pandemic created a stressful and unusual environment, (usually) their daily tasks and lives have remained similar – working, looking after family, cooking and exercising,” she says.


People’s mental health has been affected in different ways depending on their area of ​​work, according to the research.

For example, job security anxiety was particularly strong among employees in sports (67 percent say so) and hospitality (53 percent), but working from home had the effect. greatest effect on people in science and technology (39 percent).

Meanwhile, community service workers (27 percent) are the most likely to “strongly agree” that they have increased their use of alcohol or recreational drugs to cope with the problem. pandemic.

WayAhead mental health expert Stephanie Thompson says people who lost their jobs faced financial stress while those who moved from an office to a home environment experienced their own challenges.

“Social interaction is not the same as if it was in person, and we rely on technological video calls and virtual conferences for this social interaction,” she says.

“Lack of social cues and the ability to understand performance can lead to overwork and setting unrealistic expectations that can lead to burnout.

“The lack of separation between home and work environment can often make it difficult for people to disconnect. “


Although about the same proportion of men (81%) and women (85%) report a deterioration in their mental health in the past 18 months, research shows that women are more likely to have spoken to someone about their difficulties.

Almost two in five men (38%) keep their feelings to themselves, compared to 22% of women.

Men are less likely to have spoken to their partner (40 percent versus 45 percent), a family member (21 percent versus 31 percent), a friend (20 percent versus 38 percent), or a professional (7 percent versus 11 percent).

Australian tech start-up aims to address men’s ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to mental health by providing convenient and discreet telehealth services.

The Mosh online platform offers one-on-one medical consultations, medication prescriptions, and psychology services by text, call or video call.

Mosh co-founder Gabriel Baker says men typically neglect their mental health even when they are struggling and don’t seek out the resources available to them.

“We need to change the stigma around seeking help and encourage a more open conversation about mental health care,” he says.

Jordan Broadway, of Northcote in Victoria, has struggled with his mental health on and off for over a decade and although it is now under control, he still has bad days – especially during extended shutdowns.

“I have asked for help before, during some particularly difficult times, but I have not been able to find the right practitioner, be it a counselor or a psychologist, with whom I am. felt comfortable enough to open up completely, ”he says.

“Last year I realized I really needed to try again, but couldn’t find mental health support in person. “

Broadway, 26, joined Mosh and began accessing support from the comfort of his bedroom.

“The first psychiatrist I tried with Mosh wasn’t right for me, and they allowed me to find another that ended up being exactly what I was looking for,” he says.


How Australians tried to improve their mental well-being during the pandemic

SOURCE: WayAhead

52% exercise

Cooking 33 percent

Talking to friends and family 33%

Gardening 28 percent

Create a 28 percent routine

Pamper yourself 17%

Meditation 16 percent

Retail therapy 13 percent

A new hobby 13%

Counseling / professional help 11%

Study / development 10%

Dress 7 percent

Journaling 6 percent

If you or someone you know needs help:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyond the Blue: 1300 22 4636

Child helpline: 1800 55 1800

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