When too much news is bad news: is the way we consume news detrimental to our health?



Shutterstock

Evita March, Federation University Australia

Humans are curious and social creatures by nature. The news helps us make sense of the world around us and connects us with our local, national and international community. So it’s no wonder we’re drawn to it.

Objective, legitimate news also keeps us informed, empowering us with knowledge to make balanced decisions.

But the way we consume news has been profoundly altered by media developments. As news outlets have adapted to media trends, the way people watch, read and listen to news has changed. And these changes aren’t without consequences.

The way we consume news matters

The increase of online news, particularly when presented via social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, has affected how we access and consume our news.

When news was delivered via traditional one-way outlets such as television and radio, we were passive receivers. But on social media platforms, we’re active consumers. We sculpt and cultivate our news through immediate feedback, such as reacts or shares.

There’s evidence this might not be especially good for us.




Read more:
Australians are less interested in news and consume less of it compared to other countries, survey finds


Amid an unfolding crisis such as a pandemic, news presented via one-way outlets might be less damaging than news consumed online. In early months of COVID-19, researchers found news consumed online and via social media was associated with increased depression, anxiety and stress. The effects weren’t as bad when news was consumed via traditional media such as television and newspapers.

This isn’t limited to the pandemic. After the September 11 attacks, young people who consumed news via online sources experienced more PTSD symptoms than those using traditional media. This effect was attributed to more graphic images online, and the possibility for extra exposure as people could watch the footage repeatedly.

Where do we source news?

In an average week, more Australian news consumers source their news online (53%) than via print (25%). But perhaps surprisingly, television is still the most popular mode of news consumption. This year, 63% of Australians said they watched television news in an average week. Nevertheless, we’re far more actively engaged with our news than we once were.

Person viewing news on phone and laptop
Information is more accessible to news consumers than ever before — and graphic and repeated exposure could be bad for our mental health.
Shutterstock

Access to news is also radically different. The ability to consume news 24/7, via an almost endless variety of sources, has prompted experts to encourage us to moderate our news consumption.

Our bad news bias — not good news for our well-being

During times of crisis, we’re more drawn to news. In fact, Australians’ consumption of news significantly increased in 2020. During the 2019–20 bushfires, the percentage of heavy news consumers (people who consume news more than once a day) increased from 52% to 56%, and increased to 70% during the COVID-19 pandemic peak.




Read more:
Twitter’s plan to help young people not get too overwhelmed by bad news doesn’t go far enough


Unfortunately, the impact of news on our well-being is also particularly salient during a time of crisis. Multiple studies have found the more we consume news during or after a tragedy, crisis or natural disaster, the more likely we are to develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Why are we so interested in bad news, anyway? University of Queensland psychologist Roy F. Baumeister and his colleagues have noted bad is stronger than good. Humans have a “negativity bias”, whereby we pay more attention to negative information than positive.

“If it bleeds, it leads”

Journalists are said to capitalise on our negative bias to capture our attention. Some news sources have learned this lesson the hard way. When a city reporter from an online Russian news website decided only to report good news for a day, they lost two-thirds of their readers.

The problem is, this negativity bias in the news can make the world appear worse than it truly is.

If the news distresses you, try to remember sometimes publications manipulate our powerful cognitive biases to capture our attention.
Shutterstock

The repeated presentation of information can create cognitive distortions, meaning we’re likely to interpret newsworthy problems, like violent crime, as more prevalent than they really are.

This negativity bias might also explain the tendency to focus on ‘doom and gloom’ stories on social media, referred to as doomscrolling.

Research published this year showed when we perceive the daily news as negative, we can feel less positive overall. So it’s no wonder increased news consumption can impact our well-being.




Read more:
Google News favours mainstream media. Even if it pays for Australian content, will local outlets fall further behind?


Those who use social media largely for news, instead of social networking, show increased anxiety and depression. These results highlight the importance of being strategic about how you use social media, particularly during times of crisis.

How can we take control of our news consumption?

First, it’s important to be aware your news consumption via different sources can look very different. Traditional media tends to focus on the facts, whereas stories, rumours, and human interest pieces are prioritised on social media.

Empower yourself with the knowledge that, as humans, we are subject to bias. The media and those producing the news know this. These biases, which make us wonderfully human, also make us wonderfully biased to the information we receive.

Our biases mean we’re more likely to be impacted by negative news and more likely to believe what we see is more prevalent than it truly is.




Read more:
How fake news gets into our minds, and what you can do to resist it


That’s certainly not to say no news is good news. News is powerful, and helps us stay connected and informed. But in a world where we’re surrounded by news 24/7, it is important we are aware of our cognitive biases and the distortions they create. Let’s take control of our news consumption rather than allowing it to control us.The Conversation

Evita March, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Federation University Australia

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Greater needs, but poorer access to services: why COVID mental health measures must target disadvantaged areas



Shutterstock

Graham Meadows, Monash University; Brett Inder; Frances Shawyer, Monash University, and Joanne Enticott, Monash University

COVID-19 outbreaks and the resulting lockdowns, particularly in Victoria, have adversely affected many people’s mental health.

Social isolation, financial stress, and anxiety about contracting COVID-19 can all contribute to psychological distress. For some people, these experiences may trigger mental disorders, such as depression.

People in lower socioeconomic groups are likely to be in particular need of mental health support in the face of the pandemic.

While federal and state governments have rightly boosted mental health services, we need to ensure these services reach those who need them most.

‘Better Access’ doesn’t guarantee access for all

The “Better Access” scheme entitles people to Medicare-subsidised sessions with a psychologist, occupational therapist or social worker, including via telehealth.

Recognising the mental health consequences of the pandemic, the federal government has increased the number of psychological therapy sessions subsidised under Better Access from ten to 20 sessions per year.

Well before COVID-19, we knew socioeconomic disadvantage was associated with poorer mental health. Our earlier research has shown very high psychological distress is much more common in the most disadvantaged fifth of Australian areas than in the most affluent fifth.

But for reasons including out-of-pocket costs and service locations, we’ve found people in poorer areas receive fewer Better Access treatments.

A female doctor speaks to someone on her laptop computer.
Better Access sessions can be delivered via telehealth.
Shutterstock

In Victoria, as in other parts of the world, COVID-19 has taken a higher toll on people in disadvantaged areas.

Not only have poorer areas suffered disproportionate numbers of COVID-19 infections, but they also seem to be enduring greater associated social and economic hardships such as job losses.

And if people in these areas need extra mental health support, they may find they’re under-served by the existing system.




Read more:
When it’s easier to get meds than therapy: how poverty makes it hard to escape mental illness


Three concerns

The expansion of Better Access may in fact deepen the inequity around access to these services.

1. Access to providers

The supply of therapists has not suddenly increased, so neither has the availability of treatment sessions. The increased number of allowable sessions will largely benefit people who already have access to treatment — and who are less likely to come from disadvantaged areas.

With scarce provider time, this potentially means fewer available sessions for those in disadvantaged areas.

2. Gap fees

Telehealth items continue to allow uncapped co-payments (gap fees). Whatever principled commitments practitioners may have to bulk billing, it makes financial sense to want to attract clients who can afford to pay.

So there may be better access for people with greater financial resources.




Read more:
Budget funding for Beyond Blue and Headspace is welcome. But it may not help those who need it most


3. A digital divide

Telehealth items, including video mental health consultations, may be less accessible in disadvantaged areas because of poorer access to technology, including reliable internet connections.

Those in disadvantaged areas may also be living in overcrowded conditions, and therefore have less privacy to use telehealth.

Where is the need greatest?

The Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage (IRSD) summarises a range of information about the economic and social conditions of people and households in Australia.

It can help planners direct resources to more disadvantaged areas — which, as we’ve shown, is particularly important for mental health services.

Our new paper offers a model for policy-makers to apply what we know about the IRSD and poorer mental health to planning and monitoring mental health services.

We created a spreadsheet using area IRSD scores to estimate mental health resource needs for different areas.

In Melbourne, for example, we estimated more disadvantaged parts of the western suburbs have a need around 2.5 times greater than parts of the eastern suburbs.

We used Victoria as an example, but this model could easily be adapted for use elsewhere.

How can we make services in Australia more equitable?

We hope our research will complement other Australian tools so the influence of disadvantage on mental health-care needs can be more consistently and transparently taken into account when designing mental health services.

State-based mental health services are often funded by areas, such as those for adults with serious mental illnesses in Victoria. So getting the funds to where they’re most needed is possible for state and territory governments.

But with services such as Better Access, which are funded by Medicare item rather than by geographic area, we will need new ways to ensure they’re distributed equitably.

A young woman has her head in her hands.
COVID-19 has taken a toll on Australians’ mental health.
Shutterstock

A thought experiment

The government could encourage a practitioner using telehealth to ensure 40% of these services get to people living in areas in the lowest 40% according to the IRSD.

The government could also implement an overall bulk-billing target of, say, 50%. Disincentives could follow if the provider falls short of these targets.

For example, a provider would receive commonwealth funding for all services provided if they achieved the 50% target. If not, they would receive funding for all bulk-billed consultations, plus the same number of co-payment services.

So, if a provider only bulk bills 40% of their clients, 80% of their services would receive funding. Similar mechanisms may operate for IRSD targets.

Such a move would likely face opposition, including from practitioners who might find it difficult to change their referral and charging practices. For some, at least initially, their income would suffer. So it could be challenging to introduce.




Read more:
Social housing, aged care and Black Americans: how coronavirus affects already disadvantaged groups


This is just a draft proposal and the details, including specific targets, could be refined in discussion with professional bodies. The model in our paper could be used to assess if changes succeed in improving equity.

But something like this could see people with the greatest mental health needs, particularly those in the most socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, better able to access services.The Conversation

Graham Meadows, Professor of Adult Psychiatry, Monash University; Brett Inder, University Professor; Frances Shawyer, Research Fellow, Monash University, and Joanne Enticott, Senior Research Fellow, Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI), Monash University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

A question for the treasurer: how do you treat mental health without measuring well-being?


Carla Liuzzo, Queensland University of Technology

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg mocked the idea of a “well-being budget” as “laughable” back in February. He’s got less reason to laugh now.

According to an Essential Research poll last week, 78% of Australians agree the pandemic has exposed flaws in the economy and there is an opportunity to explore new ways to run things. A well-being budget might be just the ticket.

In February, Frydenberg dismissed a well-being budget as “just another word for Labor’s higher taxes and more debt”, after the shadow treasurer, Jim Chalmers, committed the heresy of saying gross domestic product was, on its own, a deficient economic measure, and countenanced “a version of New Zealand’s well-being budget, which redefines what success means in terms of economic outcomes”.

Frydenberg joked about Chalmers being “fresh from his ashram deep in the Himalayas, barefoot, robes flowing, incense burning, beads in one hand, well-being budget in the other”.

But now, with the federal government changing its tune on many things, such as debt, it might be a good time for Frydenberg to change his mind on this.

Well-being measures, for one thing, could greatly assist the Australian government in budgeting to improve mental health and prevent suicides – things Frydenberg said in his budget speech are national priorities.

It’s impossible to address the nation’s mental crisis just through the blunt tools of economic growth and money for band-aid services. If a bigger income was the main means to mental well-being, after all, James Packer would be happier.

Mental health is a complex problem, with complicated causes, requiring a sophisticated response. To do that, developing measurements of well-being can only help.




Read more:
Budget funding for Beyond Blue and Headspace is welcome. But it may not help those who need it most


Measuring what’s worthwhile

There is no universal definition of well-being economics, but essentially it is an economic perspective that acknowledges gross domestic product – the monetary value of all goods and services produced by a country in a given period – as an all-too narrow metric for building a prosperous, sustainable, human-centred economy.

GDP is useful, as Chalmers acknowledged in his February speech:

It does still provide a powerful insight into the current state of the economy, and is useful for historical comparisons. […]

More broadly, growth matters to the jobs and opportunities created in our society. A healthy, growing economy can make people more comfortable with farsighted social and economic policy changes as well.

But GDP does not, as Chalmers said, paint the whole picture. He quoted Robert Kennedy, who said GDP measured everything “except that which makes life worthwhile”; and Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz: “If we measure the wrong thing, we will do the wrong thing.” So his point was hardly fringe.

Indeed even the architect of GDP as an economic measure, economist Simon Kuznets, warned against putting too much emphasis on it, and of the dangers of it subverting the normally “valuable capacity of the human mind to simplify a complex situation in a compact characterisation”.




Read more:
Redefining GDP and what we mean by growth


New Zealand’s well-being budget

The first country in the world to introduce a well-being budget was New Zealand, in May 2019.

The main difference of The Wellbeing Budget to previous budgets was how it allocated resources to five priority areas: mental health; child well-being; Māori and Pasifika well-being; productivity; and environmental sustainability.

The traditional budget process tends to consider priorities on a yearly basis. This guides governments to put more money into short-term goals and less into initiatives with long-term returns. To overcome this bias, New Zealand’s Treasury created an assessment framework that considers the merits of projects according to 60 different measurements (covering economic, social and environmental impacts).

The intention is to ensure the budget doesn’t neglect to invest in long-term initiatives that can prevent problems, rather than being caught in a cycle of pumping money into alleviating the symptoms short-term.

In mental health this means more emphasis on policies that keep people well, rather than on providing help only once they are very unwell – the type of “defensive spending” dominating the Australian government’s priorities in mental health in last week’s budget.




Read more:
New Zealand’s well-being approach to budget is not new, but could shift major issues


Building back better

The Australian Capital Territory’s Labor government has already replicated New Zealand’s model in its own Wellbeing Framework.

In February Chalmers indicated a desire for federal Labor to take a well-being budget to the next election.

ALP leader Anthony Albanese’s response to the federal budget on Thursday night gave few signals the Labor Party will do so. Though he criticised the government’s short-term GDP growth focus, the word “well-being” did not pass his lips.

But popular opinion suggests both parties should be putting well-being measures on the agenda. Already more than 30 countries measure “life satisfaction”. Support for well-being economics should transcend party lines, as it does in countries such as Britain.

If the Australian government is to “build back better”, it’s hard to see how a well-being budget could possibly hurt.The Conversation

Carla Liuzzo, Sessional Lecturer, School of Business, School of Creative Industries, Queensland University of Technology

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Budget funding for Beyond Blue and Headspace is welcome. But it may not help those who need it most



Shutterstock

Louise Stone, Australian National University and Christine Phillips, Australian National University

The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in more anxiety and depression, raised rates of bipolar disorder and other psychoses, and left many Australians stricken with grief. And we will, devastatingly, lose more Australians to suicide.

Meanwhile, many people are facing job losses, financial hardship, isolation and some are suffering long-term symptoms of COVID-19 or other chronic illnesses.

At first glance, it’s fitting the 2020-21 federal budget, unveiled on Tuesday, includes A$7 million for mental health organisations Beyond Blue, Headspace, Kids Helpline and Lifeline.

Look more closely, however, and some concerning patterns emerge. The commitment to mental health is channelled through these services, which provide a narrow spectrum of care. These organisations favour people who are resourced, resourceful, literate in English, urban, and have more easily treated conditions than those with complex or multiple chronic illnesses. In fact the people with the deepest need tend to receive the least care.

These services aren’t suited for those with complex needs

People with mental illnesses aren’t all the same. Mental health concerns range from grief and loss, to chronic severe schizophrenia, to depression and anxiety, and many of these conditions overlap. Many people have also survived considerable trauma, and this has a deep and lasting impact on their health and well-being. Others live with disability, homelessness, chronic pain, domestic violence and poverty.

Professor Ian Hickie, who was a founding director of Headspace, says:

The Headspace model was never set up to deal with more complex presentations, people with impairments already established, those who had complex mixes of anxiety, depression and substance misuse.

As clinicians with a particular interest in mental health, we are wary of the “single illness fallacy” — one person, one illness — that underpins many of Australia’s current mental health policies. People with ongoing or serious mental illnesses almost always suffer other physical conditions which compound their mental illness, and die decades earlier than the average Australian. They deserve support.

Many people with disabilities also encounter difficulty in accessing appropriate care for their needs. One example, among many, is that in the ACT, public child and adolescent mental health services exclude patients with autism or attention deficit disorder.

Patients describe being too complex or not complex enough for services, and a little like Goldilocks they have difficulty finding a service that is “just right” for their needs.




Read more:
Three charts on: why rates of mental illness aren’t going down despite higher spending


Doubling Medicare-subsidised sessions won’t help those who receive no care

People who commonly don’t receive adequate care include those who are homeless, poor and unemployed, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and those on temporary visas. All tend to have higher rates of mental illness than the general population.

All people with mental distress and illness should be able to access mental health care. In theory, this is the basis of the federal government’s Better Access program, which allows people to access ten Medicare-subsided sessions per year with a psychologist or psychiatrist. It’s a useful initiative, but only for those who can afford the co-payments and live in areas where psychologists are available.

The budget’s commitment to extend the program to 20 sessions, at a cost of more than A$100 million, is welcome. But it doesn’t ensure equity. It also puts considerable strain on the psychology profession, which is already overloaded, especially in rural areas.

Like Headspace, Better Access risks excluding people with complex conditions or unstable mental illnesses. Those who are on the margins of society, and rely on the social safety net or charity, are unlikely to use this model of care.




Read more:
When it’s easier to get meds than therapy: how poverty makes it hard to escape mental illness


How do get the best value for our mental health services?

It’s hard to see the value-add of a narrow mental health response that funds a set of services which can only care for people with mild to moderate distress, while ignoring the people with the greatest disability.

The value-based care movement argues there are four elements that create value for people. Services should:

  1. provide outcomes that matter to the person receiving the service. We need to decide whether every dollar spent on clinical treatment of mild to moderate depression and anxiety could be better spent on housing, trauma therapy, employment or other forms of social care

  2. alleviate suffering. People should be able to form close and continuing relationships with clinicians, so their story and needs are known and trust can develop. The evidence for this relationship-based care is deep, but often services use multiple teams with health professionals who change frequently. We need to understand that continuity often matters to people and developing trust helps reduce distress

  3. create calm, which means addressing the chaos people experience trying to access services. The experience of telling your story multiple times to multiple providers, and then finding the service won’t accept care, is traumatic and unnecessary

  4. be cost-effective for the whole population who need mental health support, not just for the patients each service chooses to treat.

We need each of these government-funded services to report against these outcomes, including recording those people who are directed away from the services and essentially denied care.

Policies should be driven by data

We know little about the wider mental health needs of the Australian population. Our most recent national mental health survey was back in 2007. We know a lot about patients who present to services, but little about patients who don’t.

The largest providers of mental health care in the country, GPs, are invisible in the budget. Their patients, who have no other option for mental health care because they are too poor, too rural, too unwell or not unwell enough, are invisible in policy. Our only data from GPs is billing and prescribing data; hardly sufficient to understand the unmet needs of the Australian population.

If we are to meet the needs of all Australians, not just those who can access and afford care, we need more data. Offering simplistic solutions to complex problems means there are larger chasms for people to fall through.The Conversation

Louise Stone, General practitioner; Clinical Associate Professor, ANU Medical School, Australian National University and Christine Phillips, Professor, Social Foundations of Medicine, Medical School, Australian National University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Am I coping well during the pandemic?



Shutterstock

Nick Haslam, University of Melbourne

The pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges. Many of us have lost work, gained carer responsibilities and grappled with social isolation. Experts have warned of a looming wave of mental illness as a result.

Research suggests they’re largely correct. Surveys in Australia, the UK and the USA point to rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal thinking substantially higher than in previous years.

But over time, people have changed how they have responded to the threat of COVID-19. Google searches have shifted from the harm of the pandemic itself to ways of dealing with it, such as exercising and learning new skills.

This pivot points to a new focus on coping with COVID-19.

Many ways of coping

Coping is the process of responding effectively to problems and challenges. To cope well is to respond to the threat in ways that minimise its damaging impact.

Coping can involve many different strategies and it’s likely you have your own preferred ones. These strategies can be classified in many ways, but a key distinction is between problem-focused and emotion-focused strategies.

What’s the difference?

Problem-focused coping involves actively engaging with the outside world. This might mean making action plans, seeking further information about a threat, or confronting an adversary.

Emotion-focused coping, in contrast, is directed inward, attempting to change how we respond emotionally to stressful events and conditions, rather than to change them at their source.

Effective emotion-focused strategies include meditation, humour and reappraising difficulties to find benefits.

Less effective emotion-focused strategies include seeking distractions, denial and substance use. Although these tactics may stave off distress in the short term, they neither address its causes nor prevent its longer term effects.

Man with spirit in glass
Drinking to stave off distress is one example of an emotion-based coping strategy. But this way of coping doesn’t work in the long term.
Shutterstock

Which is best?

Neither of these coping strategies is intrinsically more or less effective than the other. Both can be effective for different kinds of challenges.

Problem-focused strategies are said to work best when we can control the problem.

However, when we face an immovable challenge, it can be better to adjust our response to it using emotion-focused strategies, rather than battling fruitlessly against it.

Coping strategies during the pandemic

Physical activity and experiencing nature can offer some protection from depression during the pandemic. One study even points to the benefits of birdwatching.

But there’s more evidence around coping strategies to avoid. Rising levels of substance use during the pandemic are associated with greater distress.

Eating too many snacks and accessing too much
COVID-related media have also been linked to higher levels of stress and depression. So these should be consumed in moderation.

Women doing yoga wearing masks
Exercise might be a good strategy for coping with stress associated with the pandemic.
Shutterstock

How can I tell if I’m not coping well?

We should be able to assess how well we are coping with the pandemic by judging how we’re going compared to our previous normal.

Think of yourself this time last year. Are you drinking more, sleeping poorly or experiencing fewer positive emotions and more negative emotions now?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then compared to your previous normal, your coping may not been as good as it could be. But before you judge your coping critically, it’s worth considering a few things.

Your coping is relative to your challenge

The pandemic may be shared, but its impacts have been unequal.

If you live alone, are a caregiver or have lost work, the pandemic has been a larger threat for you than for many others. If you’ve suffered more distress than others, or more than you did last year, it doesn’t mean you have coped less well — you may have just had more to cope with.




Read more:
Your coping and resilience strategies might need to shift as the COVID-19 crisis continues


Negative emotions can be appropriate

Experiencing some anxiety in the face of a threat like COVID-19 is justified. Experiencing sadness at separation from loved ones under lockdown is also inevitable. Suffering does not mean maladjustment.

In fact, unpleasant emotions draw our attention to problems and motivate us to tackle them, rather than just being signs of mental fragility or not coping.

We should, of course, be vigilant for serious problems, such as thoughts of self-harm, but we should also avoid pathologising ordinary distress. Not all distress is a symptom of a mental health problem.

Woman with face in hand
Feeling distressed during the pandemic is to be expected and it can actually motivate us to tackle adversity. But watch out for serious problems.
Shutterstock



Read more:
7 mental health coping tips for life in the time of COVID-19


Coping isn’t just about emotions anyway

Coping isn’t all about how we feel. It’s also about action and finding a sense of meaning and purpose in life, despite our distress. Perhaps if we’ve sustained our relationships and done our jobs passably during the pandemic, we have coped well enough, even if we have sometimes been miserable.




Read more:
7 science-based strategies to cope with coronavirus anxiety


Coping with COVID-19 has been an uneven contest

Social distancing and lockdowns have left us with a reduced coping repertoire. Seeking emotional and practical support from others, also known as “social coping”, is made more difficult by pandemic restrictions. Without our usual supports, many of us have had to cope with one arm tied behind our backs.

So remember to cut yourself some slack. For most people, the pandemic has been a unique challenge. When judging how well we’ve coped we should practise self-compassion. Let’s not make things worse by criticising ourselves for failing to cope better.


If this article has raised issues for you, or if you’re concerned about someone
you know, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
The Conversation

Nick Haslam, Professor of Psychology, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

We can’t ignore mental illness prevention in a COVID-19 world



Shutterstock

Stephen Carbone, University of Melbourne

Despite the incremental easing of Victoria’s restrictions, it’s clear the journey towards COVID-normal is far slower than many people had hoped.

Australians – particularly Victorians – have shown remarkable resilience, but many are suffering emotionally.

The mental health impacts of COVID-19

During the early days of the pandemic, surveys showed a sharp increase in symptoms of anxiety and depression across Australia. These difficulties continued into mid-August. More than 40% of Australians aged 18 years and older feel high levels of anxiety, and around one in six report depressive symptoms.

To target this, federal and state governments have increased telephone, online and face-to-face mental health supports. While this is vital, more needs to be done to prevent people suffering severe mental health problems in the first place.

Girl wearing mask looking out window
Over 40% of Australians aged 18 years and older feel high levels of anxiety, and around 1 in 6 report depressive symptoms.
Shutterstock

Prevention is better than cure

There’s good evidence we can prevent many cases of depression, anxiety and substance abuse. But Australia doesn’t have a mental health prevention plan or policy, and government funding for prevention is just 1% of the total mental health budget.




Read more:
Women are drinking more during the pandemic, and it’s probably got a lot to do with their mental health


The Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, the government’s key mental health blueprint, focuses on improving mental health-care services and suicide prevention, but not on preventing the mental health conditions that are a major risk factor for suicide.

What about illness prevention?

Last month the federal government released a consultation paper on its proposed National Preventive Health Strategy, setting out what the strategy will aim to achieve and how it might be done.




Read more:
The government will spend $48 million to safeguard mental health. Extending JobKeeper would safeguard it even more


The document’s exciting because it focuses on health promotion and illness prevention, acknowledging we can’t improve the health of the Australian community through health-care measures alone.

But unfortunately, the proposed strategy’s fundamentally focused on physical health issues. In its 20 pages, the consultation paper only mentions mental health three times.

Folders labelled with mental health conditions
Government funding for prevention is just 1% of the total mental health budget. The National Preventive Health Strategy provides an opportunity to shed light on prevention measures for mental health conditions.
Shutterstock

The same principles outlined in the strategy to prevent conditions such as diabetes also apply to preventing mental health conditions such as depression. To prevent either, we need to minimise risk factors and increase protective factors linked to the condition, before it occurs. But some adaptation would be needed for the plan to address both physical and mental health.




Read more:
If Australia really wants to tackle mental health after coronavirus, we must take action on homelessness


What prevention measures should be added?

A focus on physical activity, healthy eating, and non-smoking will help to promote good mental health as well as physical health.

Man carrying box of office supplies
Unemployment, a risk factor for a number of mental health conditions, is on the rise due to COVID-19.
Shutterstock

To prevent mental health issues we should focus on building people’s health literacy and self-care skills through public information campaigns and online learning programs. Supportive social environments can be encouraged by parenting programs, and school and workplace mental health promotion initiatives.

Local communities could also be mobilised to take positive action on local issues that contribute to poor health and mental health through place-based strategies. Place-based strategies aim to tackle issues existing at a neighbourhood level, such as social isolation and poor housing.




Read more:
Melbourne’s second lockdown will take a toll on mental health. We need to look out for the vulnerable


Services could be reoriented towards prevention. Primary care professionals might provide advice on self-care and use social prescribing to address stress and enhance social supports. Social prescribing involves medical professionals linking patients to non-medical supports. For example, they may provide an “exercise prescription” or “art prescription”.

Finally, appropriate public policy solutions, such as JobSeeker and JobKeeper, that tackle the social and economic determinants of ill-health are needed.

Social factors matter too

Research also points to a strong link between mental health conditions and experience of childhood adversity, family violence, loneliness, racism, homophobia and transphobia. Workplace stressors, financial stress, unemployment and homelessness are also risk factors.

Many of these issues are on the increase because of COVID-19, so to safeguard mental health we need to tackle them and their impact. This will require the use of evidence-based preventive programs outlined above – many of which already exist but are not being implemented well or to sufficient scale. It will also require public policies to soften the economic blow and ease financial stress.

Targeting these issues will not only help to prevent mental health conditions, but physical health conditions as well.




Read more:
Feeling hopeless? There are things you can do to create and maintain hope in a post-coronavirus world


While better access to mental health-care services is important, it can’t solve all the mental health challenges posed by COVID-19. We also need to strengthen the factors that buffer people against stress, and tackle the underlying factors that contribute to poor mental health.

Whether we create a National Preventive Mental Health Plan, or embed mental health in the current National Preventive Health Strategy, one thing’s for sure: continuing to ignore the prevention of mental health conditions is not an option in a COVID-19 world.The Conversation

Stephen Carbone, Honorary, School for Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

To safeguard children’s mental health during COVID-19, parents must look after their own



Shutterstock

Sarah Whittle, University of Melbourne and Kate Bray, University of Melbourne

The negative mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are clear, but there is particular concern children will be most affected in the long run.

By the end of March school closures were impacting 91% of the world’s student population and are still affecting more than 60%. These closures limit children’s opportunities for important social interactions, which can harm their mental health.

In particular, home confinement, fears of infection, family stress and financial loss may have negative effects on the mental health of young people. And research carried out earlier in the pandemic suggested these effects may be most pronounced for children with pre-existing mental health problems.

Which children are most at risk?

Parents have an important role to play in safeguarding children’s mental health during COVID-19.

Research shows family relationships are more influential during situations that cause stress over an extended period of time than during acute periods of stress. This means family factors are likely to be even more important to childrens’ mental health during COVID-19 than during more fleeting traumatic experiences such as exposure to a natural disaster.

Parents and their child sitting on a park bench, wearing masks.
The family is most influential during situations that cause stress over an extended period of time.
Shutterstock

In our recent study, we found 81% of children aged 5-17 had experienced at least one trauma symptom during the early phase of COVID-19. For instance, some children had trouble sleeping alone, or acted unusually young or old for their age.

Our unpublished research relied on reports from parents from Australia and the United Kingdom. We also found increases in emotional problems were common. For instance, according to their parents 29% of children were more unhappy than they were before COVID-19.

Importantly, our study found several parent and family factors that were important in predicting changes in children’s mental health problems.

Here are four of our main findings.




Read more:
Number of Australia’s vulnerable children is set to double as COVID-19 takes its toll


1. Parents’ distress matters

Increased personal distress reported by parents was related to increases in their child’s mental health problems during COVID-19. This distress refers to both general stress in addition to COVID-specific worry and distress. It also includes anxiety related to problems that existed before COVID-19.

For this reason it’s important parents look after their own mental health and stress levels. Seeking psychological help is a good option for parents who are struggling to cope.

Through a GP referral, Australians can receive ten sessions of psychological care per year through Medicare. Victorians who are currently subjected to further restrictions can now receive up to 20 sessions.

A woman with her head in her hand while her children jump on a couch.
If you’re a parent struggling during the pandemic, there’s help available. Though Medicare you can receive 10 sessions of psychological care, or 20 sessions is you’re a Victorian.
Shutterstock

2. Good family relationships help

Higher levels of parental warmth and family cohesion were associated with fewer trauma symptoms in children. “Parental warmth” refers to being interested in what your child does, or encouraging them to talk to you about what they think; “family cohesion” relates to family members helping and supporting each other.

In other research these factors have consistently been found to relate to children’s adjustment to stress and trauma.




Read more:
P is for Pandemic: kids’ books about coronavirus


Fortunately, there is a range of resources parents can use to help improve relationships with their children.

Some parents may also find taking part in a parenting course helpful. Partners in Parenting, Triple P and Tuning into Kids are available online.

3. Parents’ optimism can be contagious

Daughter and mother smiling at each other
Children observe their parent’s behaviour – if you can try to see the silver lining your children might too.
Shutterstock

While COVID-19 is having many negative impacts, some parents in our study also identified unexpected positive impacts, such as being able to spend more time with family. Children of these parents were less likely to experience an increase in some problems – particularly problems with peers such as being bullied.

Children observe parents’ behaviours and emotions for cues on how to manage their own emotions during difficult times. Trying to stay positive, or focus on the bright side as much as possible is likely to benefit children.




Read more:
Want to see a therapist but don’t know where to start? Here’s how to get a mental health plan


4. Some effects are greatest for vulnerable families

We found parents’ behaviour was particularly influential in lower socioeconomic backgrounds and single-parent families. In poorer families, parental warmth was particularly important in buffering children’s trauma symptoms. And in single-parent families, parental stress was more likely to predict behavioural problems in children.

This may be because poorer and single-parent families already face more stress, which can negatively impact children. Parental warmth can counteract the effects of these stresses, whereas high parental stress levels can increase them.

Research has already shown the pandemic will have greater negative impacts on those who have less resources available to them. This points to a need for extra psychological and financial support for these families. Governments and other organisations will need to take this into account when targeting their support packages.




Read more:
8 tips on what to tell your kids about coronavirus


It’s important to keep in mind child-parent relationships are a two-way street. Our research examined relationships at only one point in time, so we don’t know the extent to which our findings reflect a) parents causing changes in their children’s mental health, or b) changes in children’s mental health impacting parents, or the way a family functions. Research needs to follow children and their families over time to tease apart these possibilities.

Given prevention is always better than cure, parents and families should seek help early to build the right foundations to safeguard the mental health of their children.The Conversation

Sarah Whittle, Associate Professor in Psychiatry, University of Melbourne and Kate Bray, PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Want to see a therapist but don’t know where to start? Here’s how to get a mental health plan



Shutterstock

Louise Stone, Australian National University

Last week, the Australian government announced it will provide ten extra Medicare-subsidised psychological therapy sessions for Australians in lockdown areas due to COVID-19.

In such a stressful time, many people are experiencing poorer mental health, and some need additional support. However, our mental health system is complex and fragmented, so it can be challenging to find the care you need.

Here’s how to start seeing a therapist if you never have before.

What is a mental health treatment plan?

Under Medicare, you can already access ten subsidised sessions per calendar year with a registered psychologist, social worker or occupational therapist. Twenty sessions are now subsidised “for anybody who has used their initial ten services in a lockdown area under a public health order,” said Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. Currently this includes all of Victoria.

But to get access to these sessions, first you need to get a mental health treatment plan from your GP. This involves an assessment of your physical and mental health, and a discussion of your particular needs. The GP then helps you decide what services you need.

All GPs who write mental health treatment plans have undergone additional training in mental health. There are also plenty of GPs with further interest and expertise in this area. It can be helpful to ask for recommendations from friends and family if you are unsure who to see.

Physical and mental health issues frequently overlap, so a visit to a GP is an opportunity to assess any physical issues that may impact mental health as well. The GP should explore a person’s strengths and vulnerabilities, before agreeing on a plan for care.

Generally, this process takes 30-40 minutes, so it’s important to book a longer consultation with your doctor. At the end of this consultation, you can have a copy of the plan, and it’s also sent to the therapist of your choice. Once the mental health plan is billed to Medicare, you can get subsidised sessions with your preferred therapist. You will need to make the appointment with the therapist, but GPs or practice nurses will often help make this appointment for patients who are feeling too unwell to manage this phone call.

Using telehealth

Telehealth enables you to get care from your GP by phone or video. The Medicare requirements of telehealth are changing rapidly, so check when you make your appointment to see if telehealth is available and to make sure you will be eligible for a Medicare rebate for this consultation.

At the moment, to get a Medicare rebate for telehealth, you must have seen the GP in their practice face-to-face at some point in the past 12 months.

But this requirement doesn’t apply to:

  • children under 12 months

  • people who are homeless

  • patients living in a COVID-19 impacted area

  • patients receiving an urgent after-hours service

  • patients of medical practitioners at an Aboriginal Medical Service or an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service.

So if you live under the Victorian lockdowns, you can get a mental health care plan via telehealth, even if you have not seen the GP before.

Once you’ve got your care plan, you can do the therapy sessions via telehealth too. And you can now claim them under Medicare (though this wasn’t the case before COVID-19).




Read more:
Coronavirus has boosted telehealth care in mental health, so let’s keep it up


A patient and a doctor doing a consultation via video call
Many GP clinics and psychologists are now conducting sessions via phone or video call.
Shutterstock

Choosing a therapist

Your GP can help you choose a therapist, but it’s important to think about what you need from a psychologist. Psychological care can range from coaching when life is particularly challenging, to deep and complex work helping people manage mental health disorders or trauma.

Also consider the sort of person you prefer to see. Some people prefer practitioners from a particular cultural group, gender or location. You may have a preference for a very structured, problem-solving style, or you may want someone with a more conversational style. You may also have a preference for the type of therapy you need. If your GP can’t recommend someone appropriate, or if you are having trouble finding someone who is available to meet your needs, the Australian Psychological Society has a searchable database of therapists.

Psychologists, occupational therapists and social workers must be registered under Medicare to provide these services, so it’s important to check this with the receptionist when you make your appointment. The Medicare rebate varies according to the qualifications of the practitioner, and a psychologist’s fees may be well above the rebate, so clarify your expected out-of-pocket expenses when you make an initial appointment.

A clinical psychologist has additional training, and will give you a rebate of around $128, whereas a general psychologist has a rebate of around $86. Remember that a psychologist may charge well above the rebate, so you may be out of pocket anywhere from nothing to over $200.




Read more:
5 ways to get mental health help without having to talk on the phone


If you decide seeing a therapist under a mental health plan is not the right option for you, there are some alternatives. Some non-government organisations, like Headspace, provide counselling services through Medicare for no additional cost, as do some schools. Some workplaces also have psychological options like the Employee Assistance Program.

Some people benefit from online programs that teach psychological techniques. Head to Health also provides a searchable database of evidence-based sites to explore. Most are free or very low cost.

If you are very unwell, local mental health services attached to public hospitals can provide crisis support and referral.

These are difficult times.

It’s important to at least discuss your situation with someone you trust if you’re having difficulty sleeping, your mood is affecting you or your family, or you’re having frightening or worrying thoughts. Your GP is a good, confidential first port of call.


If you or someone you know needs assistance, contact Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Lifeline on 13 11 14, or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.The Conversation

Louise Stone, General practitioner; Clinical Associate Professor, ANU Medical School, Australian National University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Victorian government has allocated $60 million to mental health. But who gets the money?


Chris Maylea, RMIT University

The second wave of the coronavirus and the resulting restrictions have impacted all Victorians. Many are struggling, but some are struggling more than others.

In response to the increasing number of people having a hard time coping with the pandemic, the Victorian government yesterday announced an additional A$59.7 million in funding for mental health services.




Read more:
Number of Australia’s vulnerable children is set to double as COVID-19 takes its toll


More than half of the new funding is for hospital–based services or services for people after they have left hospital. Most of the rest is focused on services for people who are really unwell or distressed, in an effort to avoid the need for hospitalisation.

A busy emergency department is never an ideal place for someone experiencing mental distress. But now, to reduce the risk of infection, it is even more important to give people the support they need before they end up in hospital.

The mental health system was “broken” before COVD-19

Victoria’s mental health system was in crisis before COVID-19 hit. In 2018, Victoria had the lowest per person funding for mental health in the country. Premier Daniel Andrews described the mental health system as “broken”, and launched the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

The royal commission had only released its initial recommendations and interim report when the coronavirus hit, overwhelming an already broken system.




Read more:
The government will spend $48 million to safeguard mental health. Extending JobKeeper would safeguard it even more


Accelerated initiatives

The new funding is in addition to the work of the royal commission and the funding announced in Februrary and April.

The government has increased the total number of new mental health inpatient beds to 144, nine more than the royal commission’s recommendation. Some A$30 million has been allocated to fast-tracking the new mental health inpatient beds in Geelong, Epping, Sunshine and Melbourne, and A$4.1 million will go to existing hospital-based services.

A hospital bed
The government has slightly increased the total number of new mental health inpatient beds to 144 from the 135 recommended by the Royal Commission.
Shutterstock

Just over A$4 million has been committed to accelerating the statewide rollout of the Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) program to Box Hill, Royal Melbourne, Monash, Heidelberg and Broadmeadows hospitals. But as with the extra inpatient beds, this program was already in the Royal Commission’s recommendations, so it’s not a new initiative, just accelerated.

New initiatives

But there are also some genuinely new initiatives. Some A$11.1 million has been designated to community-based mental health services to be open seven days a week, with extended hours and additional staff. General hospitals and general practitioners will have increased consultancy from psychiatrists to the tune of A$7 million. Headspace, which provides community mental health support to 12-25 year olds, has also received A$1 million across 15 Melbourne sites to reach young people in their homes.

The Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council, Victoria’s peak body for people who use mental health services, and Tandem, Victoria’s peak body for carers of people who use mental health services, received a combined A$900,000 to continue their work supporting and representing people who use the mental health system.

More than A$1 million has also been allocated to supporting the mental health of police, paramedics, nurses and midwives. This is a valuable investment, but is arguably filling an existing need rather than catering to the effects of the pandemic.

Why now?

Since the same period last year, people going to emergency departments for self-harm has increased by nearly 10%. For young people, this has increased by 33%. With limited access to services and fewer opportunities for self-care, more people are ending up in emergency departments. In fact, compared with last year, the number of people seeking emergency mental health health support has increased by nearly a quarter.




Read more:
Predicting the pandemic’s psychological toll: why suicide modelling is so difficult


Increased restrictions have made accessing services even harder. Telehealth services are increasing, but for many people a virtual meeting is no replacement for face-to-face contact. Some people don’t have the devices necessary for virtual meetings, can’t afford the data, or are not proficient in using technology.

Limited access to services is only part of the problem. Normally, people maintain good mental health by being active, working, and staying connected to their families and communities. These activities cannot be replaced by a weekly online counselling session.

Man clasping his hands, looking distressed
Compared with last year, the number of people going to emergency departments for mental health reasons has increased by nearly a quarter.
Shutterstock

Will it make a difference?

The coronavirus and related restrictions have had devastating effects on people’s lives and livelihoods. Those who are most affected by restrictions include Victorians in precarious work, those who are experiencing family violence, or Victorians who live in disadvantaged areas.

This new funding is certainly welcome, and if it prevents the loss of even one life, it will be worth the investment. But the funding ultimately equates to only about A$10 per Victorian, and there will be many people who still can’t get access to services. The royal commission may bring much needed change to the system, but in the meantime many of our most disadvantaged community members will still not receive the support they desperately need.

What is really required is an approach that recognises this is just as much a social issue as it is a health issue – no amount of government support can replace a connected and supportive community.The Conversation

Chris Maylea, Senior Lecturer, Law and Social Work, RMIT University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Is psychiatry shrinking what’s considered normal?



Vijay Sadasivuni/Pexels

Nick Haslam, University of Melbourne and Fabian Fabiano, University of Melbourne

Psychiatric classifications catalogue the many forms of mental ill-health. They define what counts as a disorder and who counts as disordered, drawing the boundary between psychological normality and abnormality.

In the past century that boundary has shifted radically. Successive classifications have added new disorders and revised old ones. Diagnoses have increased rapidly as new forms of human misery have been identified.

The wider psychiatric classifications cast their net, the more people qualify for diagnoses and the more treatment is considered necessary.

These changes may have mixed blessings. Broadening definitions of mental illness allow us to address mental health problems that were previously neglected. Mental illness may come to seem more commonplace and thereby less stigmatised.

However, inflating definitions may also lead to over-diagnosis, over-medication, and bogus epidemics. Many writers worry broad definitions of mental illness lead ordinary problems of living to be pathologised and medicalised.

But is this “diagnostic inflation” actually occurring?




Read more:
Explainer: what is the DSM and how are mental disorders diagnosed?


Diagnostic inflation

These concerns often target the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The “DSM” is the American Psychiatric Association’s influential classification manual of mental health problems. Since its revolutionary third edition in 1980, each major DSM revision has been challenged over diagnostic inflation.

Some writers argue the DSM over-diagnoses depression and anxiety disorders, misrepresenting many normal responses to adversity as mental illnesses. Others suggest it has diluted what counts as a traumatic event for the purpose of diagnosing PTSD. Eyebrows have been raised by some researchers over new diagnoses such as internet addiction and mathematics disorder.

These criticisms reached fever pitch when the latest version (DSM-5) was launched in 2013. Leading the charge was distinguished American psychiatrist Allen Frances who led the Task Force that developed the previous edition. Frances criticised the new edition for creating “diagnostic hyperinflation” that would make mental illness ubiquitous.

For example, the latest version removed the rule that a recently bereaved person could not be diagnosed with depression. It listed new disorders representing relatively mild cognitive declines and bodily complaints. It introduced a disorder of binge eating and another for frequent temper outbursts in children.

In response to shifts such as these, Frances led a campaign to “save normality” from psychiatry’s territorial expansion.

Some prominent psychiatrists have claimed the DSM is turning everyday ups and downs into mental illness.
Shutterstock

But is it a myth?

It seems obvious the DSM has steadily inflated psychiatric diagnoses. But we decided to test this assumption in our recently published research — with surprising results.

We scoured the research for studies in which consecutive editions of the manual were used to diagnose the same group of people on a single occasion. These were 1980’s DSM-III, 1987’s DSM-III-R, 1994’s DSM-IV, and 2013’s DSM-5. For instance, a study might use DSM-III and DSM-III-R criteria to diagnose schizophrenia in a sample of inpatients.

We found more than 100 studies comparing rates of diagnosis of at least one mental disorder across a pair of editions. In all, 123 disorders could be compared based on 476 study findings. For each comparison, we evaluated diagnostic inflation by dividing the rate of diagnosis in the later edition by the rate in the earlier one — the “relative rate”.

For example, if 15% of a group of people received a certain diagnosis by DSM-5’s criteria and only 10% received it by DSM-IV’s, the relative rate would be 1.5. This would indicate diagnostic inflation. If the percentages were reversed, the relative rate would be 0.67, indicating deflation. A relative rate of 1.0 would show stability.

We found no consistent evidence of diagnostic inflation. Relative rates for each new edition were 1.11 (DSM-III-R), 0.95 (DSM-IV) and 1.01 (DSM-5). None of these differed reliably from 1.0 or from one another. The average relative rate overall was exactly 1.0, indicating an absence of diagnostic inflation from DSM-III to DSM-5.

Although there was no pattern of inflation across the board, we found a few specific disorders have inflated. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism both inflated significantly from DSM-III to DSM-III-R, as did several eating disorders and Generalised Anxiety Disorder from DSM-IV to DSM-5. However, a similar number of disorders significantly deflated so fewer people could be diagnosed with them, including autism from DSM-IV to DSM-5.

Stressed child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Some disorders, like ADHD, have inflated across editions of the DSM. But overall, concerns about rampant inflation are unfounded.
Shutterstock

Normality may not need saving after all

These findings call into question the widespread view the DSM has created runaway diagnostic inflation. No consistent trend toward diagnostic expansion has occurred, nor has any DSM revision been singularly prone to bloat. Normality may not need saving after all.

Worries about growing over-diagnosis or over-medication should focus on particular disorders for which diagnostic inflation can be demonstrated, rather than seeing these as rampant and systemic.

Our findings restore some confidence that the DSM’s process of diagnostic revision does not necessarily make psychiatric diagnosis more expansive.

Also, they suggest supposed epidemics of depression, anxiety, ADHD or autism must be evaluated sceptically. If steep increases in diagnoses occur for disorders whose criteria have not inflated, there may be cause for alarm. If such increases occur for inflating disorders, they may simply be caused by lowered diagnostic thresholds that create a “new abnormal”.




Read more:
Depression: it’s a word we use a lot, but what exactly is it?


Two kinds of diagnostic expansion

Our finding that rules for diagnosing mental disorders have not consistently become less stringent might seem to encourage complacency about diagnostic expansion. Not so fast! Diagnostic expansion can also occur through the addition of new disorders.

As we have written in relation to “concept creep”, ideas can broaden in two directions: downward to encompass milder phenomena than they did previously, and outward to encompass new kinds of phenomena.

Our study finds little evidence for the “vertical” sort of creep, but the “horizontal” sort has surely occurred. New DSM editions have always identified new ways of being mentally ill, and some of the rhetorical heat generated by DSM-5’s critics was directed at new diagnoses.

The fact that psychiatric classifications continue to evolve should not surprise us, and nor should the fact they sometimes expand. Such changes are not unique to the mental health field either. As Allen Frances has drily observed, “modern medicine is making such rapid advances, soon none of us will be well.”

Our findings suggest that although new ways of being mentally unwell may continue to be discovered, the old ways have tended to stay the same.




Read more:
Is your mental health deteriorating during the coronavirus pandemic? Here’s what to look out for


The Conversation


Nick Haslam, Professor of Psychology, University of Melbourne and Fabian Fabiano, Research Assistant, Brain and Mind, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.