EDITORIAL: Why we need to be checking in, not out

The elderly, those with chronic medical conditions and those with low immune systems have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

This is why self isolation is so important. But it won't be easy.

And while we are being asked to physically shut ourselves away from the outside world, it has actually never been more important to make sure we aren't socially checking out.

Because the concept of social isolation brings with it a whole new realm of symptoms, some which could be a lot harder to identify than the physical characteristics of a virus.

So just as we must remain vigilant about measures such as washing our hands and minimising contact, we must also ensure we are are taking care of our mental health.

It is something we all contend with on a daily basis. Like our physical health, if left untreated you will likely become unwell.

That being said, not everyone experiences mental illness.

But in such uncertain times, as we face challenges that will surely test our patience and our limits, our mental health must remain a priority.

It is fair to say most of us would have already been impacted by this pandemic - in one way or another.

For many, the impact is uncertainly over a job and how one will continue to provide for their family. For others, it's not being able to visit an elderly loved one.

The flow on effects for small businesses are already being felt, with the ramifications of heightened social isolation measures expected to hit even harder.

But we must also remind ourselves to remain positive. If you are not OK, speak out. If you are concerned about someone, check in.

These might be uncertain times, but often even the smallest gestures can make a big difference - even if made from afar.