COVID taking a huge toll on SA’s mental health 

27 August 2020

Almost three-quarters of South Australians believe the COVID pandemic has negatively impacted their mental wellbeing.

According to a Flinders University survey of 300 people, about 50 per cent feel less secure about their job, 25 per cent have lost income – but 85 per cent of the respondents remain supportive of the tight SA Health restrictions, The Advertiser reports.

Chief investigator Associate Professor Udoy Saikia told the newspaper that preliminary results revealed some disturbing trends.

Most people (83 per cent) were feeling positive and hopeful about life before the onset of COVID-19 – and that plummeted significantly to just 36 per cent as the virus took hold.

“The impact on mental health is quite worrying,” Prof Saikia said.

The survey found there were negative impacts on mental health among 72.4 per cent of people, compared to no impact at 21.7 per cent and a positive impact for just 5.9 per cent.

“The most positive aspect so far is people’s high rating of overall performance of the South Australian Government in dealing with the pandemic situation,” Prof Saikia was quoted in the paper. “And also, the support from friends and the neighbourhood.”

So far about 300 people have taken part in the active survey and researchers are encouraging more people to participate.

And it’s no surprise that almost three-quarters of those surveyed have experienced negative effects on their mental health, The Advertiser reports.

Prof Saikia says most people (68 per cent) “have been able to draw on the support of friends and family to help and to deal with difficult situations during COVID-19 and share with them their worries and concerns”.

For people with pets, the survey found about 93 per cent found their pet to have been a benefit to their wellbeing during the pandemic.

The research will “strengthen formulating and implementing evidence-based policies for maintaining higher level of wellbeing both during the pandemic and post-pandemic situations,” Prof Saikia told The Advertiser.

To gain a better understanding of the effects COVID-19 has had on the nursing, midwifery and personal care workforce, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation in all states and territories have partnered with the Rosemary Bryant AO Research Centre to launch a national COVID-19 Workforce Survey.

The ANMF (SA Branch) is urging nurses, midwives and personal care workers to take part and share the COVID-19 Workforce Survey with their colleagues.

“The results from the survey will arm us with a heightened level of preparedness to ensure the health system has the appropriate support and resources for the emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing of the workforce during a pandemic,” said research team leader Professor Marion Eckert.  

As Australia continues to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, this survey is an opportunity for nurses, midwives and personal care workers to provide feedback on the implications for their professional practice and occupational wellbeing.  

“Every voice is vital to provide critical insights to advocate for workplace improvements that lead to enhanced wellbeing, job satisfaction and quality of care,’’ said ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adj. Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM.

People can take part in the survey by visiting