21 October 2020
It's often said that COVID-19 doesn't discriminate, but it does, and young people especially have felt the impact of the virus. It's no surprise then that headspace saw a 33 per cent increase in demand for e-headspace and counselling services this April compared to the same period last year or that there was an over 40 per cent increase in webchat demand this May. This is consistent with the findings of the National Youth Mental Health Foundation survey, where young people reported COVID-19 had negatively impacted their relationship with friends, study, day-to-day routine and mood and four out of 10 reported feeling the pandemic had impacted their ability to achieve future goals.
This year my niece Iona started kindergarten at my old school, St Cecilia's Wyong. Coming back from school, she said to my mum: 'Nanna, in my little life there have been bushfires, floods and COVID-19.' These are big problems for anyone to face and very big feelings for a five-year-old, so today I join with others across Australia in marking headspace Day and encouraging young people to think about small steps they can take to support their wellbeing—small steps like exercise and keeping in touch with friends and family. I'd like also to recognise the school teachers, youth workers, health workers, peer workers and coaches doing all they can to support young people and their families as they feel the social and economic impact of this virus.
This headspace Day, I'll finish by expressing my hope that Australia comes out of COVID a fairer place, because where you live, are born and grow up have a profound impact on your health and wellbeing.
Authorised by Emma McBride MP, ALP, 204/1 Bryant Drive, Tuggerah NSW 2259