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Physical Distancing v Social Distancing -our mental wellbeing response

25 March 2020

Physical Distancing v Social Distancing

A mental wellbeing discussion amid the COVID-19 crisis.

selectability CEO Debra Burden quote regarding physical distancing v social distancing for COVID-19 response


“We know that feelings of anxiety and fear are also developing symptoms of COVID-19,” Ms Burden said.  

“And now, more than ever, we need to unite as a community to address this unprecedented situation so that we come through to the other side not only physically, but mentally well too.

“The continually changing situation, dire warnings, growth in case numbers, changes to our lifestyle and threats to our livelihoods are hard to comprehend for all of us and potentially triggering for those living with a mental health condition.

“As a mental wellbeing organisation, we believe the term ‘social distancing’ engenders actions and feelings in line with isolation and loneliness,” Ms Burden said.

“Thankfully, we live in a technological age where instead of a handshake we can reach out via text or phone, a coffee catch-up can be shared via skype or facetime and we encourage everyone to practice ‘social connectivity’ as a way of preserving our mental wellbeing during this tough time.”

Our measures in response to COVID-19

Our current focus is on limiting opportunities for exposure and spread of the virus by putting in place appropriate policies, processes and work practices.

At this point in time, all of our services are proceeding with strict hygiene and health protocols in place.We are working through contingencies should our consumers or employees become exposed.

Continuity Framework

selectability has enacted a COVID-19 continuity framework in a bid to ensure the physical barriers presented by the virus have a minimal effect on their ability to provide care and support.

“selectability is committed to providing safe, secure and reliable services to consumers and a safe work environment for our employees and we are doing so to the best of our ability in these trying times,” Ms Burden said.

“We have put in place a number of procedures already and are working through contingencies on how to maintain continuity of care should our consumers or staff become exposed to the virus.

"We also know that many people in the community, a large number of which may not have sought mental wellbeing  support before, may be in need of help as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and particularly the social and financial impacts it is having individually and collectively," Ms Burden said.

“We will continue to provide our vital group mental wellbeing initiatives whilst strictly adhering to current health guidelines including our Clubhouses and Mental Health Hubs (in Mackay & Townsville) and support groups such as selectwellbeing across our regional Queensland footprint as long as we are able.”

Key measures
  • practising social distancing measures in line with government guidelines
  • introducing strict hygiene and health protocols on and off site and restricted entry to buildings
  • reinforcing general WH&S obligations
  • limiting the number of support workers rostered to each consumer minimise the risk of exposure
  • launching a dedicated online employee module with the latest COVID-19 information and access to relevant government training
  • Exploring and introducing alternative (non-face-to-face) options for the delivery of support services
  • stopping all work-related air-travel and restricting road travel between regions
  • prioritising online and phone meetings in favour of face-to-dace meetings
  • reviewing and planning workforce to ensure available capacity in the event support workers become unavailable.
  • supporting staff to work-from-home where possible
  • implementing zero tolerance for contravention of government quarantine and self-isolation guidelines.

Do you need help?

General assistance

If you are concerned for the general mental wellbeing of yourself or someone close to you, please call selectability on 1800 133 123.  

Crisis support

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis you can call:

  • Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
  • Standby – Support After Suicide 0438 648 268
  • or if the situation is life-threatening call triple zero.
Get in touch

Ph. 1800 133 123

66-68 Charles Street, Aitkenvale QLD 4814

PO Box 189, Aitkenvale QLD 4814

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We can arrange for interpreter services for most languages

Selectability Details

ABN 27 174 635 449

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