An ice-cream vendor and a Catholic bishop have shown Geraldton how to beat the selfishness and negativity that COVID-19 so easily spawns. While it’s true only researchers can unlock the medical cure, according to psychologists we all hold the antidote to the social and mental challenges ahead. Maintaining good mental health will be a key battle in the COVID-19 pandemic and, if experts are right, thankfulness and kindness will play a big part. Those qualities came to the fore this week, when a Geraldton ice-cream vendor gave away free ice-creams to a hot and bothered crowd outside Centrelink — and a Geraldton bishop counted his blessings while in self-isolation. In a report earlier this year in The West Australian, health reporter Katie Hampson referred to studies indicating an attitude of gratitude was a simple way to improve life satisfaction. “In a nutshell, it’s all about choosing to exchange self-pity for gratitude,” she wrote. She suggested writing down what you are grateful for, or choosing to think about it quietly. Grief and loss counsellor Amanda Lambros agreed. “It might be the ability to walk around, the friendships around you, the people in your life and so on. Do this daily, and with intent.” Small acts of kindness also have power to lift our mood — and that of others — while also building community. In 2017, Alicia Perera of the Pilbara News told the story of seven-year-old Roebourne boy Kohbi Barrow, who filled his time doing acts of kindness for others — writing thank you notes for police and giving gifts to people in hospital. Mentally Healthy WA health promotion co-ordinator Sarah Graham said Kohbi embodied the Act-Belong-Commit message of proactively helping others — “from something as little as high-fiving the Roebourne police when he sees them in the streets, to learning the names of the staff at the local grocery store and donating food, toys and books to those in need”. Other tips from a report this week by West Australian health writer Raquel de Brito: focus on what you can control, stay connected, and limit your intake of COVID-19 media reports. If you or someone you know needs support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.