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Australian women’s mental health and wellbeing in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020

Deborah Loxton, Natalie Townsend, Peta Forder, Isabelle Barnes, Emma Byrnes, Amy Anderson, Dominic Cavenagh, Nicholas Egan, Katherine Tuckerman, Julie Byles

August 2021

The purpose of this report is to highlight the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and related policies on the mental health of women in Australia, including the impact of economic factors and women’s safety. Data collected fortnightly by the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) for a six-month period in 2020, linked with existing ALSWH data, were analysed. Results were from three age cohorts of women who were 25-31, 42-47, and 69-74 in 2020.

The research on which this report is based was conducted as part of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) at the University of Newcastle and the University of Queensland. We are grateful to the Australian Government Department of Health for funding ALSWH, and to the women who provided the survey data. We thank the University of Newcastle and the Hunter Medical Research Institute for providing funding for the COVID-19 pandemic surveys. The Centre for Women’s Health Research, University of Newcastle, was contracted by the National Mental Health Commission to undertake the analyses included in the current report, the authors are grateful for the funding and opportunity to provide this information.