Posted on July 21, 2020 / Past Students
Since becoming qualified as a psychologist I have worked in lots of interesting roles, such as consulting on medical wards at a major teaching hospital, and working in an overseas prison with clients facing the death penalty, however, working during COVID-19 has been an equally interesting and new experience.
I am grateful that I have had job security during this time, and have been able to work from the safety of my own home. Thankfully, as a response to the pandemic, Medicare introduced new funding for all Australians to access health services remotely (“Telehealth”). Previously, only people living in certain regional or remote areas could access Telehealth services.
It has been an interesting shift to working remotely, as initially it felt awkward and both my clients and I noted the difference. Over time, however, it has started to become normal and I have been pleased to see how my clients have adapted to the new method of interaction. Some of my clients even now prefer videoconferencing to face-to-face sessions! For some it has allowed them more time back in their day from travelling to appointments, opened up more times for attending sessions, or allowed people to feel more comfortable in their own familiar space when discussing sensitive topics.
Whilst many of my clients have experienced difficulties due to COVID-19, some have reported several unexpected positives such as improved relationships, an improved sense of connectedness, better work/life balance, and increased and more flexible access to services. As restrictions begin to ease, I hope we can reflect on our experiences of this pandemic, learning from the hardships, and maintain some of the positives. Personally, I hope to see more flexible work arrangements for all, an increase in the availability of health services via Telehealth, and more deliberate and meaningful connections with friends and family.
If you are struggling with your mental health, please reach out for support. You can speak to your GP or contact Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636, or Lifeline on 13 11 14.