New research launched today by Relationships Australia reveals that people across the country are divided in opinion about the effects of easing COVID-19 restrictions, on their close relationships and mental health.
Nick Tebbey, National Executive Officer, Relationships Australia said, "This survey illustrates the contradicting feelings people across Australia have about the imminent lifting of COVID-19 related restrictions on socialising, and on people's mental health and relationships.
"Results show people have varying levels of comfort when it comes to easing restrictions and many remain cautious about increased opportunities to socialise physically.
"21 percent of people said they would only feel comfortable returning to 'normal' activities if a vaccine was created and in use, with a further 14% noting they would only feel comfortable if there were no active cases worldwide.
"31 percent of people noted that socialising was good for their mental health, and as such, they felt the social benefits of interaction would outweigh the risks of infection.
"Despite COVID-19 affecting different areas of Australia with varying severity, respondents in various states and territories reported similar levels of optimism, anxiety, nervousness and excitement about restrictions lifting. Across the board, many exhibited the desire to begin to 'move on' whilst also understanding the dangers still present.
"The survey showed that 24% of people felt optimistic and 9% were excited about socialising and engaging in public gatherings post-COVID. In contrast, the survey demonstrated that 19% of people felt anxious, 12% felt nervous and 15% were ambivalent about lifting restrictions.
"We found that those who were less eager to lift restrictions were more likely to foresee a negative effect on relationships, while those who were more eager than their peers to return to 'normal' were most likely to predict positive effects on their relationships as restrictions ease.
"This survey shows us that while many members of our community are predicting positive mental health and relationships outcomes with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, there are also many people who will face continued anxieties associated with returning to their social and working lives. As such, we encourage everyone to support the people around them, and to encourage anyone struggling to seek help when they need it", said Mr Tebbey.