Peer support for mental health and why we need it more now

Mental health has always been an issue for many, but we have seen it skyrocket during Coronavirus times, with one Tuesday being Lifeline’s busiest day.

woman wearing eyeglasses in grayscale photography

Photo by Elina Krima on

Peer support groups for mental health can effectively reduce the number of hospitalizations and suicides. Canada has its peer support program and its doing quite well. Victoria has that sort of program, and there is no fee.

But you usually have to be referred to that sort of program, and your GP can do that if you need it. Also, a range of mental health services can make that referral for you.

The peer support groups are run by volunteers who have had the same experience as you, so they know what you are going through.

What does the peer support group do?

They provide hope for someone that is experiencing mental illness on the path to recovery. Peer support looks at health wellness rather than the disability of that person. These people are like your friend. It is a volunteer program that lessens the amount of hospitalization needed and suicide. It can save the Government money in the long run.

Peer support during  COVID

In New South Wales, Australia, $73 million has been provided to these services to meet the extra demand for service. In Victoria, it is estimated that the same amount would be offered due to the high intake of calls. Lifeline receives about 90000 calls a month, according to Mamamia. 

If you have mental health problems, don’t wait until it’s too late. Do go and see your GP. If you are afraid of catching the virus from them, most of them will do telehealth.

If you can do volunteer for a peer support program near you. The benefits of this would be amazing, and you could make someone’s day.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now is a book about positivity, hope, and changing your way of thinking. Powell ( also read the book and shares his views on it. Most of the time, during COVID, we are very negative people towards each other.

The book must be read in complete silence to really appreciate spirituality and calmness.

During COVID, we need to feel the pain but find a way out of that pain and suffering that we feel. The book uses simple language to entice us to be more spiritual and kind. It is a small book that you can take anywhere.

You need to enjoy being in the present moment and not create problems for yourself. Problems and fears are illusions. True wealth and happiness are inside you. The book talks about being open and being connected to the world around you and yourself. You should learn to love yourself. “If you can’t love yourself, how do you expect to love others?”You yourself deserve your love and affection as much as mentions this. Just learn to enjoy your own company. Go places by yourself.

It talks about being present in the now. People who are not in the now are always negative. For example, the COVID anti maskers. They think that COVID is a scam. But it actually isn’t. People create fear by having what-if moments. People always procrastinate, and fear is the reason. If people were just in the present moment, they would be living.

Waiting is a state of mind. We constantly wait for things to happen rather than be proactive about it.

And then it talks about the female pain which is always felt at that time of the month. We should be more sympathetic towards women at this time. Most women know how to handle their pain, and they do it well. But we should live in the now, which is mostly uncertainty due to COVID19.

We all must learn to live in the present moment and find a way out of our psychological and physical pain. We must also learn to be proactive and take action when we can

World Mental Health Day

On October 10th is World Mental health day, and we are celebrating like no other. We are locked in our homes and are only allowed out once a day for two hours.

Hence this day will be one about not going on social media a lot. During the pandemic, people were at home a lot, and social media was huge. Social media has the tendency to drive us down and encourage self-harm. In Britain alone, there was a surge in the number of depression and anxiety cases this year due to lockdowns.

Britain is not alone in this, with the US having triple the rates of depression. The CNBC has reported that 1 in 4 adults are now experiencing depression.

View this post on Instagram

Yessss! About time! I feel for you guys! Many place have too many #antimaskers out there and its time to speak out! All the cafes should do the same Reposted from @beanbastardcoffee To the anti-masker entering my store today and the future: If you refuse to take into consideration the health and well-being of others, feel free to stay the f&+! out of my store and call your order in. Our staff will gladly bring your order out to you, with a tissue. Also, it's the f$&+ing law. Thank you. – Mr Bastard . . . #coffee #coffeeaddict #coffeelover #coffeeholic #coffeeroaster #coffeeshop #cafe #caffeine #butfirstcoffee #espresso #latte #lattelove #localcoffeeshop #buffalocoffee #buffalocoffeeshops #nickelcity #buffalove #yeahbuffalo #risebflo #stepoutbuffalo #supportlocalbusiness #shopsmall #shoplocal #ifyoubuildittheywillcome #antimasker #wearthemask #yeshavesome #wearafuckingmask

A post shared by Katherine Chiu (@katherine_the_cheeky_ultra) on

Today was a lovely sunny day in  Melbourne. Here we applaud all the cafes and businesses who refuse service to antimaskers and implore them to speak out about this as well as kick them out. I know of one cafe that’s already done in Melbourne, and in the US, this cafe called “Beanbastardcoffee” spoke out about it. Abuse towards staff and other people is not acceptable. In one way or another, we are all in the same boat.

And in the last month alone, due to these antimaskers, I have been abused a few times for not wearing a mask. I am a runner, and as runners, we don’t have to wear a mask. On my jogs, I have been abused for such things. Abuse is never acceptable: it just makes that person depressed and worried, and we don’t need this.

Does Social Media isolate us

I got the idea from Unfuckwithable, who says that it does. We have many people around us during this pandemic, yet we are isolated in our own houses due to these lockdowns. This is partly how mental health problems have started and have increased in 2020

apps blur button close up

Photo by Pixabay on

A study done in 2017 by Primack says that the more time you spend on social media, the more isolated you are. They try to use social media to increase their social circles.

On social media, we can make it all look pretty, but we are down in real life. We can have all these glamourous pictures of places that we went to and the things we did. Right now, I am feeling sad that I can’t visit loved ones and can only spend an hour or two on Zoom.

On Facebook and Instagram, we can have thousands of friends, but how many do you have in real life? Do you ask yourself that question?

For some people that want to lose weight, social media can affect the image, and people think that you have to look like that person to be happy. What they don’t realize is that they are airbrushed to look pretty.

Social media does not give you real hugs or warm soups when things are tough. In fact, it is the other way around- it distances us. Occasionally we get some love but not much.

In our 14 days of social media break, we learned that being kinder to people is a good thing. Whilst we can’t be going out right now, you should check in on your neighbors. Unfuckwithable says that it is possible to go on a detox, and they list all the benefits in their post.

Foodbank’s food insecurity report

Foodbank is a charity that receives food and distributes it to other charities in Australia. They receive donated goods. During Covid19 like many other charities, they have been hit hard. So when I got their report I wanted to find out more.

During COVID19 everything changed. There was no more social life within the charities and the demand for food went up by 47%. People had lost their jobs. It’s the women that bear the brunt of job and food insecurity. More than 1 in 4 women have experienced food insecurity in the last twelve months. Anxiety is one of the major concerns as a result of food insecurity. Mothers are likely to feel embarrassed because they cannot provide food for their families. Domestic violence is a factor of this food insecurity. They feel embarrassed about talking to their friends and family about it.

Single-parent households are likely to have food insecurity. These households may have a pension or they might have casual work.

What can food insecurity do?

  • It can result in a decline in mental health for someone
  • People do skip meals regularly because they cannot afford a meal
  • Results in malnourishment in children and adults
  • People cannot focus or concentrate on what they need to do
  • People can feel more tired or stressed

We should be donating to these charities to help those in need during these times. I know some of the businesses donated to them but we can do more. More and more free pantries would be a great idea to help those that are hit hardest. Hopefully, Good Food and wine shows in the future will feature Foodbank.

Now that the Jobkeeper and Jobseeker payments are being wound back more and more people will go hungry and charities will be quite busy. Christmas will be quite different this year with many families struggling. 

How to save your marriage in a pandemic

Men’s health wrote about this and the number one thing that is key is communication and understanding. We all have to make sacrifices here. 

A relationship is a two-way street. You give some and you take some.

Maybe there is a food shortage that is stressing you out. Or maybe one of you has lost a job.  If so talk about it.

We all have to live together in our own home and with each other 24/7. Of course, living together and being at each other’s throats will have some common arguments. Domestic violence has gone up in many parts of the world. As we get out of lockdown we will see more and more people getting divorced and some people speaking up about domestic violence that they experienced at home.

A few ways to save your marriage

  • Go out for runs and exercise together. You are allowed some time to go out together.
  • Be thankful you have each other and express your love for each other. It can be done in many ways such as having a romantic backyard candlelight dinner. You can even order the many food hampers from restaurants just for couples.
  • Don’t forget online connections. Don’t forget to talk to friends and family about how you are feeling. Remember we are all in this together.
  • Do give each other some breathing space.
  • Do communicate your needs and wants with your partner and respect their needs and wants too.

After the end of the lockdown and you have tried everything then of course just go for that divorce. Divorce usually ends up in heartbreak.

How to make things a little less shitty

We all can’t control COVID and things that are going on around us. But we can control ourselves and how we treat others. Shut Up and Run makes it easy as they say that running is really healing. We cannot control how other people treat us, although I wish we could.

These days lockdown has caused people to become quite abusive and judgemental towards everyone, including the nonmask wearer for genuine reasons that they can’t wear one.

The issue of mental health has become quite prevalent over the coming weeks, days, and months with many people facing really tough mental health challenges. All the countries have been hit really hard by this pandemic but the UK and the USA are suffering a lot and they are struggling a lot with mental health.

So here are some tips on making your days in lockdown less shitty.

If you’re a runner and an avid exerciser like me then its all well. But if not I hope you’ll find something useful here:

  • Buy some good ebooks from Amazon. Amazon has amazing books right now which are healing and meditative
  • Go watch some feel-good show or a motivating one on Amazon Prime (yes you get thirty free days to try it if you are a new customer)
  • Support small businesses. They need your love right now. Don’t worry about what the other people think
  • Have a chat with a friend. Although you can’t see them in person, you can chat online.
  • Do something for someone whether that would be gardening or picking up their pieces.
  • Treat yourself every now and then

The word challenge

I got these set of inspirational cards from Weight Watchers at one of their meetings but hadn’t had a chance to try it out.

This is a great chance to lift yourself up from the drain of the news of the virus and lockdowns. The lockdowns are costing us a lot and mental health is one of those. Its important to stay strong throughout the pandemic. 

Each day you pick one card and you see the word and you think about that word or feeling. We then put it on Instagram and our thoughts on that word. When we did our pictures got 0-6 likes. 

For example today’s word is happiness. Now I can think about many things associated around that word. The sun keeps us happy. The case numbers keep going down and that keeps me happy.

Grateful was another one and I am grateful for the restrictions.

One of the words was Strength and I wondered if we would ever have strength to get through this lockdown and others. It is a long road to recovery from COVID19 pandemic and no amount of complaining will help us defeat this wave and other waves. It just takes time for the restrictions to be eased and we have to hang in there.

We need the energy to fight this Coronavirus pandemic and the mental health wave which is happening now. Guys please do the right thing and abide by the Government restrictions for a little while longer.

So play the word game with me and I hope your spirits will be lifted.


Dear Daniel Andrews

Dear Dan Andrews,

We are health bloggers who see about 10-30 visits a day all for mental health from this Coronavirus pandemic. Some of them are from Victoria. They beg for you to please ease the restrictions and consider opening up gyms and sports shops now that the case numbers are very low. These people need their social interactions. Or otherwise, we all die from suicide. And they also request that you lift the 5km rule.

I love how you have mentioned the fitted mask thingy but have you ever considered increasing the littering fine to at least $500? On my walks and runs around my suburb, I see at least 4-6 masks being left on the ground. Sometimes I nearly step on them and then there is a 50% chance of me and others getting the virus. This is partly why we haven’t seen much of a decrease in cases.

In Maribyrnong park, there are no police around to check to see if people are doing the right thing. This is infuriating for me and other people who do wear the masks and exercise within our 5km.

Also, the park always is very busy as everyone wants to get out of the house and is sick of the 5km restriction.

I really want to plead with you to open up our gyms and sports shops as we can do so in a safe manner. It’s great that you have personal trainers out there doing the boot camps and the pools open but its time. I have heard on social media as to how busy the pools are with all the bookings as many people are suffering from fatigue.

Please address these issues before things get worse,

Yours sincerely,

Healthyintstudents blog


How to be a good listener

We are all going through a rough patch at the moment with Coronavirus and the prospects of dying. We all are worried about job losses and small businesses closing. You may have lost loved ones and can’t be there at their funeral. We just need to be there for them. Some countries and places are doing it particularly tough at the moment. The US and Brazil, along with India are some of the toughest nations.

We can’t really leave the house due to lockdowns but you can schedule in a What’s App call.

You can be there as a shoulder to cry on, but you shouldn’t have to help them if you can’t.

Just listen. Let them vent their frustrations. You can ask questions but don’t ask too many. The best thing to do is to be just present and be online. Empathize with them. At the end summarise what they have just said so that they know that you were listening.

Don’t get distracted by your smartphone unless you are on it. Just be there for them. Your smartphone can wait.

If their problem is too big then a call to a mental health service such as Beyond Blue is best to recommend them. Tell them that you can’t help them and its best to call a mental health service. Just remind them that we are all in this together and we will get through to the other side.