Easing of restrictions leads to improved mental health

Media Release

Fewer Australians reported feeling personal stress, anxiety or loneliness as COVID-19 restrictions began to ease in late June, according to latest data issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Head of Household Surveys Michelle Marquardt said the seventh Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, carried out from 24-29 June, before the reinstating of restrictions in some parts of the country, showed how Australian’s mental health had recovered once restrictions were eased.

"We asked respondents about the stressors that they have experienced as a result of the COVID restrictions and what impact that had on their mental health," Ms Marquardt said.

"This survey showed 24 per cent of respondents reported experiencing one or more sources of personal stress in June compared to 43 per cent in April.

"Around one in eleven people (9 per cent) reported suffering loneliness in June compared to one in five (22 per cent) in April."

In addition, significantly fewer people reported feelings associated with anxiety and depression in June compared to April. The proportions of people reporting feeling restless, nervous or overwhelmed in June 2020 fell to rates similar to the 2017-18 National Health Survey.

"Now that some parts of the country are either having to reinstate some restrictions or put a pause on easing them it will be important to understand what impact this is likely to have on people’s mental health," said Ms Marquardt.

The survey also asked people about their use of Telehealth services. One in five people (20 per cent) had used a Telehealth service in the four weeks leading up to the survey. Almost half of Australians (47 per cent) reported they would use Telehealth services after COVID-19 restrictions ease.

Ms Marquardt added: "The majority of Australians (92 per cent) have continued to keep their distance from people although fewer were avoiding social gatherings, down from 79 per cent in late May to 66 per cent in late June."

The ABS would like to thank those Australian households that contributed to these survey results. The ABS plans to release additional information about the impacts of COVID-19 on these households over coming months.

Media notes

  • The seventh Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey was conducted throughout Australia between the 24th and 29th of June 2020.
  • Information on ABS products being produced to measure the impact of COVID-19 on Australia can be found on the ABS website.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source. 
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team on 1300 175 070 (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri). 
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