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Youth Mental Health during COVID-19

Shannen Carroll

During this current pandemic, Covid-19, everyone is being guided by the government to stay at home unless you need to go to work or gather essentials items. Schools have been converted to online classes and businesses are urged to allow their staff to work from their homes if possible.

Stephanie Grey is a youth social worker and she spends most of her time in high schools assisting students on a day-to-day basis. She believes the youth are handling this pandemic the best.

“As the generation that grew up with social media, they can use it to their advantage to help be socially distant,” Ms Grey said.

“While I believe and understand the importance of completing distance learning, often school is a way for children to connect to their friends and develop their social and emotional skills as well as everything else they are learning.

“It will especially impact those who have just come of school age, as they are the ones that require normalcy and stability to help their brain develop,” she said.

Professor Patrick McGorry, the creator of Headspace, has spoken about the need for an immediate overhaul of the mental health system as they will need to have the proper tools to deal with the aftermath that this crisis may bring.

“The anxiety and stresses and the losses they have suffered actually tip people over the edge again so it’s not necessarily disaster related,” Professor McGorry said.

The Federal Government announced that they were allocating an additional $74 million in the midst to help support the mental health services throughout Australia.

With the $10 Million that Beyond Blue was allocated, they were able to provide a hotline solely dedicated to the wellbeing of those suffering from the effects that coronavirus has on them.

In this current pandemic, the youth are being severely affected due to their schooling being changed to completely online. Students are only allowed to attend school if their parents are essential workers.

In a survey conducted by the Mental Health Foundation, who is tracking mental health in youth during the current pandemic, 4 out of 10 people between the ages of 18 to 24 have stated that they have experienced loneliness.

Head to Health is a website that helps those in need to find digital mental health services from some of Australia’s most trusted mental health organisations.

They help provide applications, online programs, online forums and phone services to those who need help.

Head to health has stated that some ways to help to maintain good mental health are to help maintain a healthy lifestyle by setting up a daily routine, staying active, eating well as well as staying connecting with friends and family via the internet.

They also stated that you should keep up to date in what is happening with this virus, to remember to stay positive as well as accessing support when you are feeling overwhelmed.

If you or somebody you know is overwhelmed by what is happening and need someone to talk to there a numerous place they can go to. There is Lifeline 13 11 14, Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800, Beyond Blue 1800 512 348 just to name a few. There are also places where you can chat online if you do not feel comfortable speaking with someone on the phone.

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About the Social Impact Projects

The Griffith University Social Impact Projects address five significant social justice issues faced by vulnerable communities. Expanding on the work done by Project Safe Space, and Project Open Doors, the Griffith University Social Impact Projects bring Community Partners, students and the University together to work collaboratively in the innovative solution design sprints. Initially designed to address Mental Health and Wellbeing of Griffith students, we soon realised this was a much larger issue intersecting across a number of social justice issues for students and the wider community. The Social Impact Projects aim to contribute in some small way to improving these social issues.