Chronic disease during times of COVID19

We’re asking R U OK?

Undoubtedly 2020 has been a difficult year for all of us. Many people who previously had the ability to manage their work, family, and friends have found themselves struggling to keep all their balls in the air. We’ve seen the effects of this difficult time impacting people’s health in our community, and our team of mental health experts are responding accordingly. Perhaps more importantly, we also have a team of preventative health professionals that exist to help you navigate this challenging time and your wellbeing before it becomes a greater concern. As R U OK? day approaches this Thursday (Sept 10), it’s the perfect opportunity to start an honest conversation with family and friends around wellbeing, mental health and the challenges of our time.

Chronic disease causes higher rate of depression

While media outlets have been vital in promoting the importance of attending to your Mental Health during COVID19, let’s take a moment to focus on people within our community who have the added burden of having to deal with a chronic illness such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and asthma, to name a few.

It is well acknowledged that people living with chronic disease have a higher rate of depression and anxiety. If you or someone you love is in this category, pay close attention to the following concerns which may indicate challenges far greater than managing the disease and seek immediate support:

Warning signs that you may need to talk to someone include:

  • Feeling burnt out or loss of motivation
  • Resentful of the disease
  • Making poor food choices and not doing normal exercise
  • Increased alcohol intake
  • Feeling like failure
  • Forgetting to take medication on time or not filling scripts before your medication runs out
  • Feeling like you just want to give up trying to manage your chronic condition
  • Putting off making appointments to GP, Specialists, Podiatrist, Dietitian, Physio, etc.


While these indicators do not automatically mean you are depressed, they do signal that you are not on top of managing your disease and as a result your health maybe deteriorating without you even knowing it. The impact of COVID19 will eventually lessen with time. However, the effects of not looking after your chronic illness could have a long lasting negative effect on your quality of life or life expectancy.

If you are concerned about your mental health or your ability to cope with your chronic condition come and speak to your GP or one of our friendly nurses for support and advice specific to your unique situation.


Located at Castle Hill Medical Centre, we have a dedicated Preventative Health Nursing Team that services both Castle Hill Medical Centre and Castle Medical Centre, Castle Hill. Our team encourages, educates, and works closely with GPs to provide Management Plans including referrals to Allied Health Professionals. We are your advocates. And we encourage you to get in touch if you have any concerns today.

You can contact our team for a chat or to book an appointment by calling 9634 5000.

Cathie Hufton 

Clinical Team Leader – Preventative Health Unit

Castle Hill Medical Centre & Castle Medical Centre, Castle Hill

R U OK? Day is Thursday 10 September 2020. It’s our national day of action when we remind Australians that every day is the day to ask, “Are you OK?” if someone in your world is struggling with life’s ups and downs. To go deeper into the conversation, visit