Mental health support for staff during COVID-19

Health and wellbeing of UOW staff is a priority

Help is available

UOW staff members and their family and friends are eligible to access free, confidential counselling from UOW’s Employee Assistance Program (LifeWorks).

Get the best help finding the best option for your situation by calling Lifeworks on 1300 361 008 or using the live chat function on the LifeWorks website.

Resources available from PODS

LinkedIn Learning courses

Personally managing uncertainty during change

This section applies to everyone, including supervisors and managers. It’s true that if you focus on giving others support in challenging times you may fail to give yourself the essential help that you need. Self-care is an essential concept when coping with changes that are not in our control.

The way you view your situation, manage your emotions and think through your options will affect your current mental health and your potential options moving forward. So let’s consider some strategies:

  1. Allow yourself time to process what is happening. 

    Ask questions to help you process how the changes might affect you. Look at the FAQs provided on the One-UOW Intranet site and seek information from your manager. Try to focus on gaining trustworthy information. In times like these the grapevine can get overactive. Make sure you seek confirmation for anything you don’t know to be certain.

    Give yourself some time to adjust. Allow yourself time to get your emotions under control before you make decisions.

    Acknowledge that your colleagues may be experiencing anxiety and this time is difficult for them also. Reach out to others. Supporting others in your team might help you process the change. 

  2. Keep a positive attitude and nurture a growth mindset.

    Keeping a positive attitude might sound too good to be possible, but it is about identifying and managing the negative thought routines that run through your mind. 

    A lot of research in recent years confirms the concept of a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset. Those with a fixed mindset tend to avoid challenges, give up easily and ignore useful negative feedback. Whereas those with growth mindsets embrace challenges, persist through obstacles, learn from criticism and seek out inspiration in others’ success.

    Nurturing a growth mindset at this time will help you stand strong in the face of adversity, knowing that you will be ok. LinkedIn Learning has some good courses such as Cultivating a Growth Mindset, Cultivating Agility and Growth Mindset in the New world of WorkLearning from Failure and Being Positive at Work.

  3. Focus on the essentials

    Even with scheduled restructures, the work of your unit still needs to get done and work can be a welcome distraction from the stresses of uncertainty. Make sure you build in regular exercise (which will support your mental health) and make time for regular and nutritious meals. Ensuring you have a good bedtime routine will help you get enough sleep.

  4. Focus on the areas where you have control.

    It’s true that if you focus on the areas in which you have control, (rather than on those in which you don’t have control) you will feel less stressed by perceptions of powerlessness. Influencing final restructures is out of the hands of most of us – however we may still have choices on what our final roles look like, based on how we present ourselves and what strengths and skills we wish to apply going forward. Don’t passively accept your ‘fate’ as others may make assumptions that don’t suit your values, your skillsets and your motivations.

    Watch this Ted Talk if you think you might need to take courage and embrace challenge: Disrupt Yourself or Die Trying by Ellis Watson.

Resources on the UOW staff intranet for managers:

If you are managing teams, consider exploring PODS’ resources such as:

It is normal for staff to be feeling worried, distressed and fearful due to the significant impact of COVID-19 in other countries. Some staff may also be experiencing grief and loss as a result of COVID-19.

As always, staff and immediate family members can contact LifeWorks on 1300 361 008 for free and confidential counselling support.

The online LifeWorks portal also has a number of resources regarding grief: LifeWorks - Grief Support

More external resources:

LifeWorks webinars

Emotional well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic

This 25-minute webinar is presented by one of our LifeWorks Organisational Psychologists.

  • Why outbreaks affect our emotional health?
  • Practical skills to cope with the anxiety
  • Talking to your children
  • Tips for you and your family


Generate awareness


Print these posters and put in your local work area to promote awareness about COVID-19:

Get access to LifeWorks

Available for UOW staff, LifeWorks platform can be accessed via your computer or can be downloaded from the app store on your smart phone/mobile device.

Request access via the P&C Help Desk Read more about UOW Employee Assistance Program / Lifeworks