How did the lockdown affect our physical and mental wellbeing?

26 August 2020

The influential philosopher George Santayana once famously said “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The message is simple, we must learn lessons from our past endeavours to better prepare and limit the effects of similar future events. So what lessons can be learnt from the lockdown we collectively experienced in WA between April and June of 2020?

That is the question researchers from The University of Notre Dame Australia are trying to answer. While WA has, so far, fared well in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, the state did enter lockdown, and many people had to drastically change the way they lived, worked, and relaxed. A new State Government funded study aims to find out what these changes were and how they affected West Australians.

The study is being led by Director of the Institute for Health Research Fremantle, Professor Jim Codde, and includes a project team of subject matter experts in Dr Paola Chivers; Professor Caroline Bulsara; Dr Ben Piggott; Michelle Lambert; Dr Lynne Millar and Dr Ranila Bhoyroo.

Those interested in taking part in this state-wide study are asked to complete a short online survey that explores any changes in diet, exercise, and mental well-being during both the COVID lockdown period and currently.

The results of the study will not only give researchers an understanding of the effects of Western Australia’s first lockdown, but will also inform health promotion campaigns that aim to help all Western Australians better cope physically and mentally in the event of any future lockdown periods.

By completing the survey, participants will be contributing to a broad database of answers that will allow researchers to answer three key questions:

  1. What changes in nutrition, physical activity, and sedentary behaviour occurred during the COVID-19 lockdown?
  2. Why did these changes occur and what was the impact on mental well-being and Quality of Life?
  3. Did the social and economic impact of the lockdown affect mental well-being and Quality of Life?

Professor Jim Codde said that while infection rates for COVID-19 remain low, to achieve these results all of WA's  2.8 million residents experienced lockdown.

“While the benefits of government mandated isolation and other protective steps for people suspected of, or having, COVID-19 are largely understood, the impact of limited access to parks, shops and other services (including those involving medical, exercise and recreation) on the wider community is largely unknown. This survey seeks to get a better understanding of their story and the how their experience could have been improved.”

While it is uncertain whether WA will re-enter lockdown, to put ourselves in the best possible position for any eventuality it is vital that we can understand not only how we ourselves were affected, but also the rest of our community.

Take the Survey

If you have any questions about this study and the survey, please contact Professor Jim Codde at

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