Being Well in Difficult Times- Michael Kidd

It’s always helpful to hear how other people cope with life's challenges. Over the next few weeks we are dedicating the Being Well blog to a series called Being Well in Difficult Times. Michael's CoVID-19 job responsibilities are huge and his pace hectic. How is he coping personally with all that on his plate?

If you need help, please call

  • Lifeline- 13 11 14
  • BeyondBlue - 1300 22 4636
  • Suicide Call Back Service - 1300 659 467
Suicide Call Back Service Online Chat

It’s always helpful to hear how other people cope with life's challenges. Over the next few weeks we are dedicating the Being Well blog to a series called Being Well in Difficult Times. We've asked a range of health professionals 3 big questions to see if there was anything we could learn from them.

In March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 threat Dr Michael Kidd was appointed Principal Medical Advisor to the Federal Department of Health and Professor of Primary Care Reform at the Australian National University. These days GPs see him almost daily in a regular webinar reporting on the status of the COVID 19 pandemic.

We wondered how it felt to be looking at the pandemic from his perspective. Is it as anxiety provoking as what you are experiencing? Which aspects are a concern from where he sits? How does he cope with those concerns? What lies ahead?

Michael was generous in his reflections.

What are your biggest concerns about the pandemic?

I am concerned about the global impact of this pandemic, both to date but also in the future, the terrible death tolls being seen in many countries, the impending impact on so many low and middle income countries, the deaths of health care workers in hard hit countries, the impact on socially disadvantaged groups of people here and around the world, and much more. 

I am also concerned about the impact on those I love, my family members who are living in other parts of the country, and my many dear friends and colleagues across Australia and all around the world, especially those who are elderly or at increased risk.

 How are you managing your anxiety about these things?

It is normal to feel anxious at a time like this, and to worry about what is happening and what might happen.  I am finding some comfort in small things, in controlling what I can control through attention to hand hygiene, physical distancing measures, reducing risk of potential contact with the virus, in reaching out regularly to my loved ones and seeing their faces and hearing their voices, in regular exchanges of messages with dear friends and colleagues, and turning off the relentless media onslaught an hour or so before bed. 

And if I wake in the middle of the night, which is happening reasonably frequently, not worrying about being awake but reading a book for a little while, or listening to an audiobook or some music, or doing some meditation, and then drifting back off.

 Do you think the experience of this little bit of history will make a difference to you or your plans for the future?

I wonder how lasting the impact will be and I hope that some of the positive changes and reforms we have seen will be enduring.  It has been extraordinary to watch the Aussie spirit at work across our country, with people looking out for each other, making sacrifices for the good of all people, saying hello to strangers when out exercising, respecting the physical distance rules while shopping.

The changes in health care delivery have been profound with the move to telehealth and the ability for GPs and other health care workers to reach out to their patients and check up on their wellbeing from a distance. I have also been impressed about the focus in Australia on ensuring the safety of all people, but especially those who are most vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19, elderly people, people with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with mental health concerns, people who are homeless, individuals and families on low incomes, and many others. 

I am also excited about the innovations and discoveries that we are seeing; we know that in the past during pandemics some of the greatest scientific discoveries have happened, some of the greatest works of literature and art and music have been created, so I am keen to see what comes out of this as well. 

For me, having been recalled back to Australia from my global roles with the World Health Organization and the University of Toronto to support the national efforts, I expect that my global health work will continue but from a distance for at least some time to come.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Kidd_(physician)

{{commentCount}} comment(s). You must be logged in and AHPRA verified to view and comment. Log In here.

Michael Kidd

Michael Kidd is an Australian medical practitioner, academic and author. Michael is currently Principal Medical Advisor to the Federal Department of Health and Professor of Primary Care Reform at the Australian National University. Michael is a past president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and a past president of the World Organisation of Family Doctors (WONCA).

The latest healthcare news from medcast

A tree change is in the wind
A tree change is in the wind

Change seems to be the theme of 2020. In our region, as with many in Australia, it started with bushfires, before a jump to the left into ‘COVID Capers’.

Writing your COVID worries away - (with Andrew Gan and Dr Jet)
Writing your COVID worries away - (with Andrew Gan and Dr Jet)

COVID and all its attendant inconveniences (I guess some would say “tortures”) has forced many of us to revise our personal wellbeing plans and dig out some old strategies that we haven’t used for a while. It’s also made some of us realise that ma...

Malignant Hyperthermia
Malignant Hyperthermia

Malignant Hyperthermia is a rare and potentially life threatening genetically inherited condition that can be triggered by drugs commonly used in anaesthesia. If it is not recognised and treated in its early stages, MH can be fatal.

Restless Leg Syndrome - Podcast
Restless Leg Syndrome - Podcast

Restless leg syndrome is a common presentation in General Practice characterised by uncomfortable sensations in the legs. These sensations are associated with an irresistible urge to move the legs to relieve the symptoms.

Telehealth Fatigue
Telehealth Fatigue

My patients are loving telehealth. They love it so much that most of them are saying they don’t want to come back to face to face consultations. You probably need to bear in mind that my patients are long-term therapy patients that I know very well.

Paediatric Advanced Life Support Standards
Paediatric Advanced Life Support Standards

In order to achieve these standards, it is essential that medical and nursing staff who work with paediatric patients receive specialised education to manage a paediatric cardiopulmonary arrest.

Would learning something new wash your Acedia away?
Would learning something new wash your Acedia away?

Is Acadia running your life right now? Are you, like the solitary monks who used that term in the middle ages, suffering from the combination of boredom, frustration, agitation and lethargy that comes with physical isolation?

COVID conspiracies – should we ignore them?
COVID conspiracies – should we ignore them?

Like me, you probably spend a lot of time talking to people about how they feel about the COVID 19 pandemic, but do you talk to them about their thoughts and beliefs about it?

Medication Spotlight: Paracetamol
Medication Spotlight: Paracetamol

A frequently used medication in community and hospital settings is paracetamol (named acetaminophen in some countries). It has less adverse effects than other analgesics, as it has no effect on platelet functioning and allergies are very rare.

Helping prevent suicide among Australia's Indigenous Youth
Helping prevent suicide among Australia's Indigenous Youth

Suicide in Australia amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples occur at twice the rate of the general population. Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at even greater risk, those aged 5 to 17 years, suicide is the le...

COVID-19 – A Clinical Update Webinar
COVID-19 – A Clinical Update Webinar

SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on global health and economics. Australian GPs are on the frontline and they are forced to make decisions in a medical landscape where the parameters for testing are changing daily and many pa...

Why should we be laughing?
Why should we be laughing?

Right now, most of us are a bit upset in one way or another. Some of us are very upset. Stress, frustration, grief, anxiety, sadness, isolation, loneliness, worry about the present, worry about the future – all these things are rising to the surfa...

Aging Well – a personal perspective
Aging Well – a personal perspective

At 65 and a half (yes, it’s come to that. I’m actually counting the months again!) I find myself reluctantly looking down the barrel of a shotgun labelled “old age”.  It’s OK, don’t panic – I’m not unwell. It’s just that my body hurts and people k...

The CHIME GP study
The CHIME GP study

Clinical and Healthcare Improvement through My Health Record Usage and Education in General Practice

Muuuum, I’m bored!!!!
Muuuum, I’m bored!!!!

Has anyone heard that or a variation of it recently? I’ll bet you have! Many years ago, before I had kids of my own, I used to hear my brother-in-law saying to his bored and whining kids “Come on then, I’ll give you a job. I’ve got plenty for y...

What’s your COVID number? A simple way to keep everyone safe and comfortable
What’s your COVID number? A simple way to keep everyone safe and comfortable

A friend mentioned a really great way for managing this which I have been using and sharing with others. As people are going to have different comfort levels when it comes to spending time together, she told me about sharing her COVID social comfo...

Being Well in Difficult Times - Talah
Being Well in Difficult Times - Talah

It’s always helpful to hear how other people cope.  Over the next few weeks we are dedicating the Being Well blog to a series called Being Well in Difficult Times.  In this blog post we speak to Talah - a a Gumbaynggirr/Yaegl young person who shar...

We’re listening at last to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voices in Mental Health
We’re listening at last to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voices in Mental Health

Whilst significant progress has been made in incorporating these voices generally, there is a call for diversity in these Lived Experience voices, namely Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience.

Being Well in Difficult Times- Zoe
Being Well in Difficult Times- Zoe

Zoe is a registered nurse working in theatres. She has elderly parents and a young son. How is she staying so positive in the face of CoVID-19?

Eating Disorders in Adults: Assessment & Treatment Options
Eating Disorders in Adults: Assessment & Treatment Options

Eating disorders, broadly defined by disturbances in eating behaviour and distress centred on food, eating, and body image, affect nearly one million Australians. This blog covers the assessment and treatment options for various conditions.

Join Medcast. It's free and you'll get instant access to essential healthcare news, research and more.

Already a member? Log In