Tips and resources for prioritising mental health in lockdown


It was Helen Keller who said, “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” At challenging times we can gain great strength as a community.

In these uncertain times, we’d like to share some suggestions from VSV families about what helps them nurture their mental and physical wellbeing during lockdown. The suggestions were put forward at the recent Connect parent sessions.

Here are their top tips:
• Communicate – talk regularly and openly as a family
• Find a positive balance of exercise, healthy eating and good sleep patterns
• Use mindfulness strategies such as the Smiling Minds meditation app
• Maintain regular routines as much as possible
• Normalise having “not OK” times
• Practice patience and compassion with yourself and others
• Explore opportunities for safe online interaction with other children
• Having fun / laughter / meals together
• Seek support from a counsellor / psychologist.

This last point highlights how talking with people is vital to our mental wellbeing. For some, that might require telephoning a hotline.

Virtual School Victoria’s Wellbeing team has prepared a list of resources for students and families who would like to seek professional advice.

Wellbeing support for students
The first line of support should be the person you are most familiar and comfortable with. If they are not available, you can reach out for assistance from the organisations listed below:
Kids Helpline or phone 1800 55 1800
eheadspace provides free online and telephone support and counselling to young people 12 – 25 and their families and friends
ReachOut provides a guide to constant change
Beyond Blue.

Wellbeing support for families
It is often close friends or family, or your existing network of support practitioners, who are the best point of assistance. If they are not available, your GP may have good local referral ideas.

You can reach out for online and phone based assistance from the organisations listed below:
Kids Helpline or phone 1800 55 1800
• Beyond Blue’s support through the Coronavirus pandemic
Wire; 1300 134 130 Free support, referral and information for all Victorian women, nonbinary and gender-diverse people
1800Respect provides confidential information, counselling and support for people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse.
Find a psychologist – can filter according to issue and location. If you get a mental health plan from your GP you get a rebate from Medicare.
Parentline is a phone service for parents and carers of children from birth to 18 years old that offers confidential and anonymous counselling and support on parenting issues 13 22 89 (8am- midnight).

Self-care continues to be vital for all of us. Look out for each other and reach out for extra support if you are feeling the toll of the return to lockdown.

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