On this page you will find reliable, evidence-based information and resources to help you stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and into the future.
With gambling venues closed due to COVID-19, or with extra time on their hands, Victorians might turn to online gambling to fill the void, or increase their existing levels of gambling.
Online gambling is one of the riskier types of gambling as it is easy to bet and lose a lot of money very quickly. One of the dangers of online gambling is people may not feel like they are spending ‘real’ money and may forget to keep track of losses.
People are turning to free mobile phone games which mimic the effects of poker machines and allow users to keep playing by buying credits. These new gambling apps are designed to be as addictive as poker machines. Another key area of concern is major sports betting sites diversifying into more novel sports and betting categories.
The gambling industry can be aggressive in its marketing of online gambling, with frequent and ‘personalised’ promotional offers via email, text messages, social media advertisements, pop-up ads or a combination of all of these.
The promotions make people think about betting more than they normally would and are a reminder that online games are available any time of the day or night. Often these ads make it seem like all players win, but the reality is most people lose significantly more than they win.
If gambling is causing problems in your life, help is available:
- Seek help
Gambler's Help provides free confidential counselling by phone, email or video calls. Call Gambler's Help on 1800 858 858 or Gambler's Help Youthline on 1800 262 376.
Self-exclusion is a free program to ban yourself from online gambling websites. Other options include software that blocks your computer from accessing gambling sites, and a number of banks allow you to block gambling transactions. Find out more online: Self-exclusion program
We need to be mindful of how much alcohol we are drinking and its impact on us and our loved ones.
People who experience challenges with alcohol, or have in the past, are even more vulnerable to using alcohol as a coping mechanism during this stressful and uncertain time.
Keeping track of whether your alcohol consumption has changed, and being mindful of other impacts alcohol may be having on your life, can help you to stay healthy.
Tips for minimising the harms from alcohol consumption
- Drink water or other non-alcohol beverages between alcoholic drinks
- Avoid high-alcohol content beverages, such as stronger beers or wines, and spirits
- Eat some food before and while drinking, to slow your drinking pace and slow the absorption of alcohol
Looking for extra motivation to reduce your drinking? Sign up for Dry July. Dry July encourages people to go alcohol-free in July and raise money for people affected by cancer.
During extended periods at home, some people might find they have more time to prepare, cook and eat while other households will be under financial strain and have less of their normal groceries available.
Regardless of your position, it’s a good idea to plan your meals and snacks (this also helps reduce wastage and help reduce cost), drink enough water, limit caffeine and alcohol, and move your body daily (whether inside or outside the home).
While buying fresh fruit and vegetables is great, remember that frozen or canned vegetables, beans or fruits can be just as nutritious and store well for a long time. To maintain a healthy weight and healthy blood pressure levels, look for “no added salt”, “low-salt” or “reduced-salt” versions and choose fruit canned in juice rather than syrup.
Visit Active Monash for some healthy recipes to cook up while at home.
VicHealth has also collated information on healthy eating.
Moving your body will help manage stress, boost your energy and support your mental and physical health. Some good ways include:
- Walking, running or cycling around your neighbourhood or local reserve
- Joining an online physical activity program that can be done from home. YouTube is a good place to start with a variety of free exercise videos
- Checking out Active Monash’s Active at Home program that has group fitness videos, workouts, healthy tips and information, as well as advice on how to keep your family moving
- Signing up to free apps such as Strava and FitBit to help keep you active
People who smoke are generally at higher risk of respiratory tract infections and there is growing evidence that people who smoke may be at higher risk of COVID-19 and its complications.
People with poor lung health and other conditions like cardiovascular disease and cancer (which can be caused by smoking) are also at higher risk of complications if they do become infected with the virus.
It’s not clear how long a person needs to stop smoking to reduce their risk of these complications, but stopping smoking has many health benefits, even beyond a link with COVID-19, so it’s always a good time to quit.
Quitline counsellors are trained experts in quitting smoking. They can give you small steps to help you break the habit and can support you over your quitting journey. Call the Quitline on 13 7848 or go to their website.
It's important to look after your mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is normal to feel stressed and anxious at this time.
Below are some tips to help manage your mental health:
- Maintain a healthy diet, exercise and sleep regimen.
- Stay connected. A reduction in physical interactions doesn’t mean you can’t connect with friends and family or maintain emotional connections.
- Talk to loved ones about your worries and concerns.
- Engage in hobbies and enjoyable activities.
- Avoid or reduce your use of alcohol, gambling and tobacco.
- Limit access to media to prevent feeling overwhelmed. Make sure you get your information from reputable sources like the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services or the World Health Organisation.
- Focus on what you can control, such as practising good hygiene.
- Remind yourself to be in the present moment.
Quick ways to stay calm:
- Go for a walk outside
- Make yourself a cup of tea
- Write down your feelings
- Take 5 deep breaths
Children’s Mental Health
For information to support children’s mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and resources on how to talk to children about it, visit Emerging Minds.
Meet Your Street
Monash Council has been working to foster stronger connections between residents in local Monash neighbourhoods through our Meet Your Street campaign.
For more information, please see: Meet Your Street