COVID-19: An Australian Perspective09 Jul 2020
Australia looks to be one of those lucky countries that adopted an early public health response limiting community transmission of COVID-19 and avoiding the levels of acute hospitalization and fatality seen in other settings. Yet the pandemic came on the back of the largest bushfire season the country had seen which itself followed a sequence of climatic disasters involving drought, cyclones and floods. The social and economic impact of the COVID-19 response has been substantial with widespread loss of employment, social dislocation and health fears sparked across the nation. Findings from risk modeling and population surveillance provide preliminary evidence of increased burden of psychological distress, morbidity and risk of suicide resulting from the current crisis. We also highlight the mental health risk that may arise from increased sedentary behavior with the introduction of lockdown and physical distancing measures. We also outline the potently valuable role of drawing on salutogenic models including resilience and posttraumatic growth research for individual and broader community level need.