The Virtual School Victoria students, families and community are very much on the minds of the school staff as we endure the ongoing impacts of COVID. We realise that this may have placed stresses and demands on families. Some of these demands could be due to the threats to physical and psychological wellbeing arising from COVID -19, while others may be the result of the increased time families have been thrown together in a confined environment under unique circumstances.
Many families are finding positive and creative ways to manage these challenges. Some of the ideas we have heard include:
- Communication – talking regularly and openly as a family
- Finding a positive balance of exercise, healthy eating and good sleep patterns
- Having fun / laughter / meals together
- Using Mindfulness strategies such as the Smiling Minds meditation app
- Maintaining regular routines to help with keeping a calm household
- Normalising having “not OK” times
- Patience, compassion
- Exploring opportunities for safe online interaction with other children
- Support from counsellor / psychologist
As our circumstances persist, students may continue find it more difficult to focus attention; they might seem withdrawn or be more reactive to interactions. As stress impacts to leave them with elevated emotional states and greater fatigue they may struggle to think clearly and to process, retain and recall information effectively.
When we make the transition to the return to school we encourage parents to check what services will be available for students through their supporting practitioner. The first line of support should be the health practitioner you are most familiar and comfortable with.
Your Learning Advisor or teacher will continue to be a major point of education engagement and communication in helping students maintain a sense of normality and security in a time of uncertainty.
If there are significant wellbeing concerns, VSV students and families can contact the Wellbeing Team by email at [email protected]. Please note that any urgent health or wellbeing concerns that arise out of normal school hours should be directed to emergency services by calling 000.
Key information and support / resource links
Latest information: facts and advice
DET Coronavirus advice or 1800 338 663: info updated for Victorian school staff as events develop
Dept. of Health Australian Government coronavirus health alert
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 Log in 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.com ten ways to take care of yourself during coronavirus
https://www.youthbeyondblue.com if you are going through tough times? Stress, anxiety and feeling down can affect anyone, and in fact happens to a lot of us at some point in our lives.
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 Log in or phone 1800 55 1800
beyondblue Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
https://www.wire.org.au/ 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.
https://www.psychology.org.au/Find-a-Psychologist – can filter according to issue, location. If you get a mental health plan from your GP you get a rebate from Medicare.
https://www.education.vic.gov.au/parents/services-for-parents/Pages/parentline.aspx Parentline is a phone service for parents and carers of children from birth to 18 years old. We offer confidential and anonymous counselling and support on parenting issues. Phone: 13 22 89 (8am- midnight).
The Royal Children’s Hospital offer a range of resources to help parents. The website include information and podcasts on supporting students with education, mental health and wellbeing as well as general guidance on COVID safe practices.
RCH COVID-19 and adolescent health – useful resources to consider.