Holistic approach supporting mental wellbeing of people in enforced quarantine in South Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic

Katina D'Onise, Sonali Meena, Kamalesh Venugopal, Marc Currie, Emily Kirkpatrick, Jenny Hurley, Rebecca Nolan, John Brayley, Bryan Atherton, Nicola Spurrier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: To report the experience of quarantine for international arrivals to South Australia requiring quarantine in a medi-hotel setting during the COVID-19 pandemic and to describe the range of evidence-based support services to mitigate the mental health impacts of quarantine. Methods: A range of services targeted at physical and mental wellbeing were provided. Data from 533 adult respondents out of 721 passengers were included. The Kessler 10 was used to measure psychological distress at two time points. Results: About 7.1% of respondents reported psychological distress at time one, reduced to 2.4% at time two. There was no significant difference in psychological distress by gender at either time point. The mean K10 score at time one was 13.6 (standard deviation=5.2) and the mean score at time two was 11.5 (standard deviation=3.1), with a significant reduction in mean scores (p<0.001) between the two time points. Conclusions: The level of psychological stress in repatriated Australians was low at arrival and improved further at the time of release from quarantine. Implications for public health: A collaborative multi-sector approach to provide support services for individuals in quarantine can mitigate risks to mental wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-329
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The following organisations' contributions were vital in the successful operation of the repatriation mission: Australian Red Cross South Australia, South Australia Police (SAPOL), Emergency Management Unit at South Australia State Control Centre, South Australia Health Border Nurses, South Australia Ambulance Service, South Australian Indian Medical Association (SAIMA), Nursing and Midwifery Office South Australia, COVID-19 Metropolitan Referral Unit (MRU) Team, Adelaide Airport Operations, South Australia GP liaison officer at SA Health, Mental Health Liaison Officers in Office of Chief Psychiatrist at SA Health, South Australia Housing, Communicable Disease Control Branch (CDCB) at SA Health, hotel managers and staff members (hotel names have not been used to maintain confidentiality).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors.


  • COVID-19
  • international arrivals
  • mental wellbeing
  • quarantine
  • South Australia


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