Send a message of hope to someone you care about

CONNECTIONS: Susie Watson from East Gippsland received a special delivery this month, thanks to Australia Post and Beyond Blue.
CONNECTIONS: Susie Watson from East Gippsland received a special delivery this month, thanks to Australia Post and Beyond Blue.

Story in partnership with Australia Post.

While the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions may be necessary to keep us safe during this pandemic, there is no doubt they have been tough on many Australians.

In fact, a study, conducted in part by researchers at Monash University, found a substantial increase in rates of depression, anxiety and irritability among Victorians during last year's prolonged lockdown.

In addition, mental health support services - like Lifeline, Kids Helpline and Beyond Blue - have all received an increased volume of calls since the pandemic began.

While a lot of this stress is being caused by economic hardship and anxiety around the virus, many people are also struggling with feelings of isolation.

A survey conducted in the United Kingdom last year, found that one in four people in lockdown had reported feelings of loneliness.

That's why Australia Post and Beyond Blue have teamed up to help people connect during tough times.

This month, millions of households across Australia will receive a special delivery: a pre-paid postcard they can send to a friend or family member in Australia.

Each postcard will contain simple mental health tips, prepared in collaboration with Beyond Blue.

All up, Australia Post will give away over four million postcards to help people stay connected.

"We know that when we connect, we feel better", Australia Post's Head of Community Nicky Tracey said.

"Sometimes a small message can be all it takes to make a big difference to someone you care about" she said.

"These postcards make it really easy to connect with a message of love, hope and support by simply putting a message on the card, addressing it and dropping it in a red post box."

For Jannine, who lives in regional NSW, it has been the love, support and positivity of her family and friends that have helped her get through the pandemic.

As a retiree, she works two days a week but admits this latest round of lockdowns has been tough, with feelings of loneliness and boredom beginning to set in.

She misses socialising with her friends and is disappointed her and her husband's plans to travel have been temporarily put on hold.

But most of all, she misses her three adult daughters, with whom she is very close.

"I haven't seen my daughters for three or four months now and I miss them. They all live in Sydney," Janine explained.

"We're relying heavily on technology. We have a (Microsoft) Teams meeting with my husband and I, and our daughters once a week, and we all really like it. We've also experimented with Facebook Messenger (Group Chats) and Zoom."

Jannine has also joined a private Facebook group for women's health, where she participates in daily fitness challenges with other women online.

"You log your progress and people send words of encouragement. It's a nice way to talk to people," she said.

Having exhausted her capacity for Netflix, Jannine says she has taken up a number of self-care and mindfulness exercises, these include knitting, learning to play a musical instrument, writing projects, daily walks, and even dedicated daily chores. All of this helps to keep the mind occupied.

Jannine is also in regular contact with friends and family, helping them to stay connected. It is these very types of connections that Australia Post aims to facilitate by delivering a postcard to every rural and regional residential address that accepts unaddressed mail.

City dwellers, and those who don't receive a card via the post, can seek one out at their local participating Post Office.

Beyond Blue's Chief Community Officer Patrice O'Brien says their partnership with Australia Post will help share important messages about mental health with a wide audience.

"The events of 2020 and 2021, including drought, bushfires, floods and the pandemic, have reminded us just how important it is to support one another, so we're delighted to have worked with Australia Post on this postcard initiative. Receiving a note from a family or friend can help lift spirits and remind us that connections play a crucial role in helping us cope with life's challenges," she said.

Story in partnership with Australia Post.

This story Send a message of hope to someone you care about first appeared on Newcastle Herald.