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What the COVID-19 pandemic did to us mentally

By Melissa Frost

We’ve been in the second half of 2022 for several months now.

This short piece relays my experiences as a Chronic Disease Management nurse in SE Queensland.

Firstly, SE Queensland became the escape hatch for the Eastern seaboard. Tens of thousands from NSW and Melbourne, fled the most locked down city in the world to the beaches of Queensland. This has had – and continues to have – profound ramifications on the local population. Homelessness. A suffocating lack of housing. Rents have increased in Surfers Paradise by 34%. A small one bedroom unit now leases for $450+ per week. The Gold Coast rental inventory is 0.2%. No caravan parks have an inch of space left. A NGO Housing group I interact with has been mandated by Gold Coast Council to help only tourists and students. And no longer the local homeless population. I’ve had hysterical young mothers on the phone begging me to find somewhere safe for themselves and their child. A 77-year-old, whose rental unit went on the market and they’ve received a 2 month notice to Leave. Where does he go? This broken soul. Where does he go?

I’m advising homeless patients with exacerbation of respiratory illnesses to present to the busiest Emergency department in the country. That would be the Gold Coast University Hospital. At least they will have a roof over their heads, a meal, a toilet and a shower. I can assist no one with finding permanent accommodation. There simply isn’t any.

I have been bracing myself for 2 years for these post pandemic realities.

Suicides have increased. A paramedic mate of mine went to 6 suicides in one week at the beginning of the year. Young men 25-40 yrs of age hanging by ropes in their garages. Domestic violence have increased by 26%. Child abuse have increased by 24%. Alcohol consumption have increased 4 fold. Prescriptions for benzodiazepines are up. Road rage is up. I have seen Queensland number plated car owners scream “go home” to Victorian plated cars. Polite discourse at the local shops no longer exists. The daily grind of making money to pay rent, feed the kids, pay that electricity bill and fill that bank-owned car with petrol can be seen on the streets of the Gold Coast as everyone scurries by, head down, shoulders down, neck tense, willing themselves to their jobs to prevent becoming another homeless statistic.

I’ve seen a real mood change on the Gold Coast. An alarming tsunami of misery and despair. Overseas mental health studies published in 2020 suggested that the pandemic would unify humanity, encourage solidarity and harmony. I have not witnessed any of that.

I’m surveying a massive collective acting out of the Gold Coast psyche. Released from government restrictions, Gold Coasters are angrier, uglier, and participating in self harm acts of high alcohol consumption, isolation and crime.

Psychology services are booked out for six months. So the business’ of the local alcohol industry continue to be profitable while the stressed population continue to self medicate.

So I battle on in my Chronic Disease Management nurse role, as all us nurses have done, hoping the ramifications of this pandemic start to wane and people get back to been civil to each other. Back to feeling safe in their housing, their jobs, their health, their mental health and all that sustains them and their families. The lucky life. The Australian way of life. Is this likely anytime soon? No. I’m afraid I don’t think so.

I will say this. Many of us medical professionals are dismayed at the mishandling of this pandemic by politicians. Thanks for this dystopia world on the Glitter Strip.

Melissa Frost
Frustrated Registered Nurse

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7 comments

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  1. Clakka

    She’ll be right, mate. Each to their own. Too easy, I can do it under water in my sleep.

  2. Win Jeavons

    The politicians merely reflect the problem. We have had 40 long years of promoting greed and opportunism , so our society is saturated with it . If it makes a buck it is the thing to do. Regardless of who hurts , if is legal it is right. We have had a government that totally exemplified this . We need a wake up call to decency, to putting the morally better action as the only socially acceptable thing to do. The road we blindly walk will lead to disunity, to social disintegration , as US and UK seem perilously close to.
    This is now a matter for ethical, moral and political fresh thinking , then action.
    Right now l consider that anyone with wealth above a few milions is on the wrong side of history .

  3. New England Cocky

    And the NSW COALition misgovernment denied Nurses a reasonable pay increase after the COVID pandemic had calmed down a little.

    So, politicians wonder why nurses, teachers Emergency Service personnel and other traditional public servants have had enough of the trickle down economics that keeps the Liarbral parasites in the manner to which they wish to remain accustomed?

    Australian voters in NSW should remember their anger when they come to vote in the 2023 state elections. Change can only happen when the COALition is relegated to the Opposition benches, preferably for a long, long long time.

  4. Uta Hannemann

    The people in power determine what the main media reports from day to day. Why is the distress of so many people at the bottom not something that makes big headlines?

    People in power, and that includes powerful politicians, are always on about, how well off Australia is. This is certainly true, but not for the people below the poverty line. What is the percentage of very poor people in our country? I am sure, the percentage is extremely high! Yes, it is about time, all the well off Australians start caring about this by doing things as for instance establishing socially affordable housing quick smart and not delaying it and telling people it cannot be done more quickly.

  5. Max Gross

    Melbourne was NOT “the most locked down city in the world”. That is just a LNP smear so why repeat that garbage?

  6. Gav

    Melissa “Many of us medical professionals are dismayed at the mishandling of this pandemic by politicians”. Not only medics. ‘dismayed’ is an understatement.
    It’s educational to look at the spectrum of how politicians in other countries handled SARS Cov2. Sweden initially went down the ‘leave it to natural immunity’ route and has now dropped recommending jabs for teenagers. It is pretty hard to hide from the fact that damages caused by jabs far outweighs benefits for teenagers and young children. Their final stats are not much different to other nations that went down the ‘reactive-panic first, never review evidence’ route.
    At the other end of the spectrum is China which is aiming for zero-covid. Obviously a million years of biological evolution which resulted in the magnificent machinery of natural immunity in the human body is no match for paranoid controlling Communists. Brutally enforced mandates of gene therapy with no long term safety studies, that’s the way to go. For the CCP, covid has been just what the doctor ordered, the perfect opportunity to lock up and lock down non-CCP citizens under cover of false PCR tests, a beautiful medical tyranny that will rid their society, if one can call it a society, of all undesirables and leave the glorious Central Country to its rightful guardians – the CCP with its 39 million membership. And if anyone thinks the CCP leaders or its 39 million members got jabbed, I have a bridge to sell you.
    If a Royal Commission (RC) into the handling of the pandemic ever happens I hope all of the contracts that our govt signed with the drug cartels comes to light – unredacted. I hope autopsies start happening for those families who request one, I hope fair compensation (not capped @ the current $20,000) is offered to the 10s of thousands of jab-injured and that the fatal consequences of having health policies virtually dictated by foreign drug companies is given short shrift. In regard to pressure on mental health in SE Qld, I see this happening everywhere. When the reasoning by Aust public health officials for their covid measures comes to light, it is safe to say there is going to be a shakeup of the health bureaucracy like never before. In hindsight, a good result would be such a RC becomes a cautionary tale that science involves space for healthy debate and not a blanket kowtowing to Big Pharma toadies moving at some idiotic pace in the thrall of an Operation Warpspeed agenda.

  7. Sooze2525

    Plus, people are moving here with no friends or family support with chronic illnesses even terminal illnesses. I just can’t fathom it. Why? No help to get them to appointments, or assist them if they need surgery. Houses bought site unseen, upping the prices of houses none of the true Gold Coasters can afford to buy. I am very frustrated.

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