**People struggling to cope with the chaos and fear surrounding COVID-19 can now access free phone counselling by appointment through Centacare. We have increased capacity to provide telephone support for mental health concerns, family stress due to job loss, social isolation and other challenges arising from the health emergency.
People can phone Centacare on 8215 6700 between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, to make a daytime or evening appointment. The telephone counselling service is inclusive, non-judgmental and unconditional.**


Fear and anxiety are inevitable responses when faced with a crisis, and it is easy to get lost in the worries.

But taking a few steps to control how we respond in the face of significant challenges can make a big difference.

Centacare Specialist Clinician Elaine Reynolds is encouraging people to focus less on what they cannot control and “face COVID-19’’ by concentrating on what they can control as the pandemic takes hold.

“The more we focus on what’s not in our control, the more hopeless or anxious we’re likely to feel,’’ she said.

“So one of the best things you can do in any type of crisis is to focus on what’s in your control by dropping anchor in the here and now.’’

“As the challenges mount up around you and you find yourself struggling with the weight of your worries, come back to a few simple strategies.’’

Elaine recommends following these steps, inspired by the Happiness Trap.


F – Focus on what’s in your control.

Take control of your behaviour – right here and now – and `drop anchor’.

A – Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings
C – Come back into and connect with your body

Try slowly pressing your fingertips together, stretching your arms or neck, and slowing your breathing.

E – Engage in and refocus your attention on what you’re doing

What can you see, hear and smell?


C – Committed action

What are simple ways to look after yourself? Can you help someone with a task. Perhaps check in with a friend on the phone.

O –  Opening up

Acknowledge difficult feelings such as anxiety, loneliness and fear, and be kind to yourself.

V – Values

Don’t abandon your core beliefs. Live your values, even in the face of the challenges COVID-19 presents.

I -Identify resources

Who can you call on for support? Be aware and only seek information from reliable and trustworthy sources. Use this information to develop your own action plan for family and friends.

D – Disinfect and distance

Practice social distancing but don’t cut yourself off from others emotionally. Follow good hygiene principles.