18th August 2021
MacKillop Catholic College recognises and understands the feelings of anxiety, distress and concern many families are experiencing in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19). As part of our school community, we offer the following wellbeing advice.
Try to maintain perspective
While it is reasonable for families to be concerned about the outbreak of coronavirus, try to remember that medical, scientific and public health experts around the world are working hard to contain the virus and treat those affected.
Find a healthy balance in relation to media coverage
Being exposed to large volumes of negative information can heighten feelings of anxiety. While it’s important to stay informed, you may find it useful to limit your media intake if it is upsetting you or your family.
Access good quality information
It’s important to get accurate information from credible sources such as those listed below. This will also help you maintain perspective and feel more in control.
Try to maintain a practical and calm approach
Widespread panic can complicate efforts to manage the outbreak effectively. Do your best to stay calm and follow official advice, particularly around observing good hygiene habits.
The Australian Psychological Society has advice about maintaining positive mental health during the outbreak.
Headspace NT has advice about coping with stress related to COVID-19 https://headspace.org.au/young-people/how-to-cope-with-stress-related-to-covid-19/
Try not to make assumptions
To contribute to a sense of community well-being, try to remember that the coronavirus can affect anyone regardless of their nationality or ethnicity and remember that those with the disease have not done anything wrong.
Managing your mental health while in self-isolation or quarantine
There are a number of ways to support your mental health during periods of self-isolation or quarantine.
- Remind yourself that this is a temporary period of isolation to slow the spread of the virus.
- Remember that your effort is helping others in the community avoid contracting the virus.
- Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues via email, social media, video conferencing or telephone.
- Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing.
- Keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy foods.
- Try to maintain physical activity.
- Establish routines as best possible and try to view this period as a new experience that can bring health benefits.
- For those working from home, try to maintain a healthy balance by allocating specific work hours, taking regular breaks and, if possible, establishing a dedicated work space.
- Avoid news and social media if you find it distressing.
Conversations with children and young people
Families and caregivers of children and young people should discuss news of the virus with those in their care in an open and honest way. Try to relate the facts without causing alarm, and in a way that is appropriate for their age and temperament. It is important to listen to any questions children may have, to let them know that they are safe and that it’s normal to feel concerned. If the media or the news is getting too much for them, encourage them to limit their exposure.
Health care workers
Health care workers may feel extra stress during the COVID-19 outbreak. This is a normal response in these unprecedented circumstances. Such feelings are not a sign of weakness and it’s important to acknowledge this. There are practical ways to manage your mental health during this time, including:
- getting enough rest during work hours and between shifts
- eating healthy foods and engaging in physical activity
- keeping in contact with colleagues, family and friends by phone or online
- being aware of where you can access mental health support at work
- if you’re a manager, trying to create mentally healthy work structures.
It’s important the general public recognises the pressure that health systems and workers themselves are under and takes steps to support them where possible. Following government advice about ways individuals can help slow the spread of the virus will support the health care workers who are saving lives and keeping people safe.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or stressed by news of the outbreak. We encourage people who have experienced mental health issues in the past to:
- activate your support network
- acknowledge feelings of distress
- Seek professional support early if you’re having difficulties.
Social contact and maintaining routines can be supportive for our mental health and well-being. In circumstances where this is not possible, staying connected with friends and family online or by phone may assist.
Acknowledge feelings of distress and seek further professional support if required.
For those already managing mental health issues, continue with your treatment plan and monitor for any new symptoms.
Students under the care of Catholic Care counselling services will be advised of alternative styles of sessions available to them in their session. If you feel counselling is needed to help support your family, MacKillop Catholic College is happy to assist with referrals for counselling alternatively families are welcome to contact Catholic Care directly on 89329977.