The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Australia: COVID-19 causing country-wide anxiety and depression

With Australia struggling to get on top of ever-increasing COVID-19 cases and Melbourne currently in Level 4 lockdown, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) says feelings of anxiety and depression are being felt across the country.

According to data from the ABS (from a survey conducted in mid-August), more than two in five Australians reported feeling nervous (46%); restless or fidgety (41%) and that everything was an effort (41%) at least some of the time in the previous four weeks.

Michelle Marquardt, ABS head of Household Surveys, says that while Victoria has experienced the greatest surge in recent cases of COVID-19, the effects on how Australians are feeling are not limited to just one State.

“The results were consistent across Australia, with no significant differences reported by people in Victoria when compared to the rest of Australia,” she says.

As well as surveying Australian’s mental state, the ABS followed up on precautions being taken and participation in selected activities over the past week.

“These results did show marked differences between Victoria and the rest of the country,” says Marquardt.

“People in Victoria were more likely than the rest of Australia to wear a facemask (99% vs 44%), keep physical distance from people (97% vs 91%), and avoid large social gatherings (96% vs 77%).

“However, they were less likely to shop in physical retail stores (45% vs 81%, attend their workplace in person (30% vs 66%), send children to school or child care (18% vs 74%), or dine in at restaurants or cafés (2% vs 50%).”

The ABS plans to release additional information about the impacts of COVID-19 on these households over coming months.

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