We’ve been told it's important to take care of ourselves during the COVID pandemic. To keep ourselves fit and healthy, both physically and mentally. But that’s not always easy, even during non-pandemic times

The Mitchell Institute’s Self-care for health: a national policy blueprint calls for new and inclusive national policy proposals to support self-care and improve health — for all Australians. Professor of Health Policy, Rosemary Calder, of the Mitchell Institute says that up to 60% of Australians lack the capacity to access, understand, appraise and use crucial information to make health-related decisions.

“Self-care by all, for all needs to become standard behaviour and practice in the community. The same strong leadership from governments and health experts that has been so effective throughout the pandemic needs to be applied to improving the self-care of all Australians,” she says.

 People conversing over telehealth

VU's health clinics are offering free services to those who need support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

VU’s critical self-care response

During this crisis, VU’s health clinics are offering free services to those who need support in a variety of health-related fields including psychology, osteopathy and dermal skin care.

Via the telehealth system, clients will be able to access the care they need while also assisting VU and VU Polytechnic students to get the training and experience they need to start their careers.

Service to the community

Kelley Mumford, Clinical Coordinator for VU’s Osteopathy clinic says the free telehealth consultations are a contribution to our communities that provide services and care during challenging times. 

“The clients I have spoken with are understanding. And they acknowledge that telehealth clinics may not be a replacement for a face-to-face, manual therapy service, but they do offer self-management, rehabilitation, education and advice.”

Clinical Dermal Coordinator Jennifer Byrne says that skin treatments can be perceived as cosmetic or vanity driven. For those who have concerns with how their skin looks and feels or with skin disorders, they know that self-esteem and perceived outward appearance can impact on quality of life. 

“The decision to make these services free was so that no-one would be limited in being able to access the service. Telehealth has no boundaries or borders and that is one of the benefits.”

She says they’ve already had clients as far as Canada participate in online consultations, and these experiences continue to enable students training at the clinics to become industry ready. 

Why it’s important to take care of yourself

Alana Howells, VU psychology alumni, teacher and supervisor of the Psychology Clinic, says it’s completely understandable to feel worried during these times.

“Uncertainty can be very anxiety-provoking,” she says. “When we feel isolated and afraid, it triggers what is known as our attachment behavioural system, which serves to try to keep us safe through having close contact with others.”

In stressful situations like this current pandemic, she says many people will want increased closeness and that current physical distancing guidelines can be particularly hard to mentally navigate through.

“While it might feel difficult to connect with others, it is still important to try - through a video call or texting people regularly,” she says.

Telehealth success

For Danilo Mangiameli, Manager at Victoria University’s Clinical Exercise & Rehabilitation (VUCER) Clinic, the telehealth system has encouraged clients to complete their assigned exercises.

“It turns out when clients are in the comfort of their own home, it increases their compliance to exercise,” he says. “It’s having a great impact on mental health… We can actually assess their mental state and if they need any extra support, we can be in touch with them.”

Book yourself in

We are currently running telehealth consultations for members of the community. You can make an appointment with telehealth consultations at the VU clinics below.

Osteopathy clinic

Our osteopathy telehealth clinic offers therapeutic assistance and advice for a range of conditions and needs. Osteopathic telehealth consultations may be helpful for back and neck pain, ergonomic-related issues, general health advice and a range of other complaints.

We are providing free 45-minute osteopathy telehealth consultations.

Sessions are available from 8am–6pm, Monday to Friday and are run by a student practitioner from our Master of Osteopathy and supervised by accredited osteopaths.

To make an appointment call +61 3 9919 1111 or email [email protected]

Psychology clinic

VU’s psychology clinic specialises in cognitive-behavioural therapy and psychodynamic therapy. We provide assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety and many other conditions.

Assessment and treatment is provided by provisional psychologists and supervised by experienced psychologists.

Call +61 3 9919 2353 or email [email protected]

Dermal clinic

The clinic’s telehealth consultations may be suitable for a range of conditions, including general concerns regarding general skin health, advice on skin care and home management strategies for a broad range of skin disorders and other skin concerns.

The consultation go for approximately one hour per session on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9am–5pm.

Email [email protected] or call +61 3 9919 7897.

Exercise & rehabilitation clinic

Victoria University Clinical Exercise & Rehabilitation (VUCER) Clinic offers exercises for healthy individuals and those with injuries and other health concerns.

During COVID-19 exercise sessions are delivered by senior students via Zoom, under the supervision of accredited exercise physiologists and exercise scientists.

Sessions are free and go for one hour (9am, 10am and 11am on week days).

If you have questions or would like to register your interest please call +61 3 9919 4737 email the VUCER Clinic Officer at [email protected]