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Guiding Families Through Coronavirus

Talking honestly with children about the current health crisis may help to reduce any anxiety they may be experiencing.

While the coronavirus pandemic threatens the physical health of people globally, it is also affecting our mental health.

This makes starting a conversation with children about the risks and possible consequences of COVID-19 without instilling panic a challenge.

The Australian Psychological Society says as the number of cases rises the level of anxiety within the community rises.

It advises families to keep things in perspective, limit related media exposure and seek facts from reliable sources such as the Australian Government’s health alert or the World Health Organization.

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY

“Children will inevitably pick up on the concerns and anxiety of others, whether this be through listening and observing what is happening at home or at school,” the APS says.

“It is important that they can speak to you about their own concerns. Answer their questions. Do not be afraid to talk about the coronavirus with children.

“Providing opportunities to answer their questions in an honest and age-appropriate way can help reduce any anxiety they may be experiencing.”

RESOURCES

The Australian Government’s Department of Health has developed a collection of resources for the general public, health professionals and industry about coronavirus (COVID-19), including translated resources.

See: http://bit.ly/39ZISDx

World Health Organization updates can be found here: https://bit.ly/3cQUwCw

DISCUSSING COVID-19 WITH CHILDREN

  • Speak to them about coronavirus in a calm manner.
  • Ask them what they already know about the virus so you can clarify any misunderstandings they may have.
  • Let them know that it is normal to experience some anxiety when new and stressful situations arise.
  • Give them a sense of control by explaining what they can do to stay safe (e.g., wash their hands regularly, stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing).
  • Don’t overwhelm them with unnecessary information (e.g., death rates) as this can increase their anxiety.
  • Reassure them that coronavirus is less common and severe in children compared to adults.
  • Allow regular contact (e.g., by phone & video call) with people they may worry about, such as grandparents, to reassure them that they are ok.

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Jess Chooses Life


Jess Chooses Life – A Play About Overcoming Bullying and Mental Health

Parent Guides is very proud and excited to be involved in delivering the play ‘Jess Chooses Life’ – to be performed Wednesday 19 Feb 2020, at 7 pm, at McKinnon Secondary College, Melbourne. 

Admission is free, and the play will be accompanied by a meaningful discussion alongside mental health professionals.

Use the following link to book your FREE tickets: https://www.trybooking.com/BHQJH

Get FREE Tickets

Some words from Angus (Gus) Clelland, Chief Executive Officer, Mental Health Victoria:

“In 2018 there were 3,046 deaths by suicide, and 458 of these were young people under 25 years of age.

In the face of this national tragedy, both the Federal Government and the Victorian Government have made mental health and suicide prevention top priorities.

Community, family and friends are fundamentally important when it comes to suicide prevention.

With this in mind, Mental Health Victoria – the peak body for mental health organisations – is very pleased to commend the collaboration of Health Play, Parent Guides and PoPsy to produce Jess Chooses Life, a sensitive and thought-provoking play that examines the pressures faced by young people and how parents can broach challenging topics such as mental health and suicide.

The format of the production – which includes audience discussion supported by mental health professionals – is highly engaging and thought-provoking, while being sensitive and supportive to audience members who may have lived experience.”

View the video testimonials from the previous play: https://vimeo.com/327637872/a0f46a1fc9

Parent Guides and Health Play


Parent Guides & HealthPlay

Parent Guides are a proud supporter of HealthPlay, a contemporary theatre company based in Melbourne.

In 2019, Parent Guides partnered with Healthy Play to deliver a successful play about mental health and teenage bullying. You can read more about the successful event here.

With their unique and humorous approach to health issues, they are writing and performing plays to educate and entertain. You can learn more about their four mental health plays for 2020 and previous plays below, and visit their website for bookings.

Suicide – It’s Time We Talked



See the Play on the 29th of March. At Sacred Heart College, Retreat Road, Newtown – Geelong. Register and Get Your Free Tickets!

 

It’s time to talk about suicide:

A new and engaging production that combines a play about suicide with a panel of mental health experts will connect and bring people together in local communities.

Read more

Children Need to Experience Failure to Thrive


Helicopter parents take an overactive and excessive interest in their child’s life.

All parents want the best for their child but they can become over-involved, smothering, overbearing, interfering and over-controlling. I also call them tow-truck parents because they wait for an accident to happen and then steam in and clear up the mess.

They have clear opinions about who is the right teacher for their child, what sport they should play, they want their child to be in the popular group and they offer disproportionate assistance, rather than allowing their teenager space.

These parents don’t enjoy uncertainty, so they over-prepare and supervise intensely and interfere with their child’s opportunity to do something for themselves and to deal with the natural consequences of their actions. Read more

I Was Bullied My Whole Life


Keiah Smith endured years of bullying through primary school and high school. She became depressed and attempted suicide.

I was bullied my whole life but it got particularly bad when I was ten and revealed I’d been sexually abused. I told a friend and it spread around the school and I was called a ‘slut’. I was also overweight and picked on for that, too.

At high school, I was regularly bashed. Mum and Dad told the school it wasn’t acceptable but it continued. I was bashed walking to class, during lunch and when I retaliated, I was suspended. It was heartbreaking and it’s hard to put into words how I felt. Read more

How to Help Your Children Develop Empathy


As parents we need to help our kids step up when they see hurtful or hateful behaviour. We need to help them critique their assumptions about what kinds of behaviour everyone else thinks is OK. In adolescence, children place high value on what friends think, and they use that to guide their behaviour because they want to belong.

When you talk about these assumptions, children may find that actually their mates don’t want to be that kind of mate or that kind of boyfriend. Instead, they want to be a good friend, and our children need to think about what that means in terms of their behaviour towards other people. Read more

Tech Addiction Taking its Toll


Group of young people using their phones.

ABC TV journalist Emma Alberici speaks to social psychology expert and Associate Professor of Marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business Adam Alter and Professor at the School of Computing and Information Technology at the University of Wollongong Katina Michael about how apps are tailor-made to encourage addiction.

EMMA ALBERICI: I’m joined now from New York by Professor and author Adam Alter, he’s the author of Irresistible, the book examining our growing addiction to technology. Katina Michael is here with me in the studio, she’s Professor at the School of Computing and Information Technology at the University of Wollongong, specialising in online addiction. … Adam, how addicted are we to technology? Well, you heard a bit about it earlier on. We are greatly addicted. There was a massive study that was run in 2011, so that’s now some years ago, showing that about 41 per cent of the adult population had some form of behavioural addiction and the suggestion is that now that is probably up around 50 per cent. And Katina, is there a particular demographic or sex that is more vulnerable than another?

KATINA MICHAEL: I think our studies have shown that anyone over 14 and under 55 are as prone, for instance, to smartphone addiction. So we are all copying each other and it looks [like] normalised behaviour and given our parents are using more, children are using more and they are copying and mimicking.

EM: What constitutes addictive technology Adam, assuming it doesn’t include making calls on your phone?

AA: No that’s right, most of what goes on, on screens, so it’s the screen component of the phone that’s so difficult for us to resist. And that’s because screens can deliver all sorts of interesting rewards to us, that draw us in and that keep us engaged over time. So things like games, email, social media, texting is a big one as well. So those are just some of them. There is also shopping. Fitness devices. It’s a pretty big range of behaviours.

EM: And what do you think are the long-term consequences, negative clearly of this addictive behaviour? I mean drug addiction and gambling addictions, we know what those obvious consequences and impacts are. Katina what is the problem with being on our phone so much?

Read more

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