At the Y, we believe in the power of inspired young people. Children and young people tell us that they only feel inspired when they feel safe and are safe. Many children and young people will now be at home more regularly, which can increase stress, anxiety and conflict within the family. During this difficult time, it is essential that everyone in the house understands that they have the right to feel safe.
We’ve listed some coping strategies and support organisations below that can help you guide your family through this period.
Maintain a routine
Maintaining a routine is more important than ever at the moment, especially for children and young people. Whilst this can be extremely challenging due to the current lockdown climate, we know that a routine gives children and young people stability and structure and this inherently helps them to feel safe. It only takes things like having a regular breakfast time, family exercise schedule and allocated free time to give children and young people a structure that enhances their health and wellbeing.
Regulate time online
Spending more time at home is inevitably going to result in more time online. The online world is a great resource that's helping us all learn, stay connected and socialise during lockdown. However, it's also important to be aware of the online risks to children and young people. From cyber-bullying and being asked to share inappropriate images, to being groomed for unsafe interactions - digital diligence from parents and carers is crucial for maintaining a safe online environment.
Simple measures like monitoring their online activities, having open and honest conversations about the risks they should be aware of and ensuring devices have appropriate restrictions in place will help limit their exposure.
It's also important to let them know you're there for them if they want to talk, to help them feel comfortable speaking to an adult. Alternatively, Kids Helpline is a great tool for children and young people to reach out to, should they ever feel unsafe.
Keep informed but limit exposure to negative news
When we switch on the TV, radio, social media or our phones all we hear about is coronavirus.
These updates can frequently be negative – and young people absorb more of these messages than we realise. An increased exposure to change and an oversaturation of worrying information, can cause children and young people to experience distress and trauma. Limiting their exposure to these messages will support them in coping with restrictions and their ability to maintain optimism.
Keep fit and active
Children and young people rely on the adult carers in their lives to keep them safe. Whilst it’s also a difficult time for adults, with possible financial pressures, less time to ourselves and balancing work, school and life commitments - keeping active is an essential ingredient to managing all these stresses.
The Y have partnered with Les Mills to provide free online workouts for every age group and ability level in your family. Whether you use these as your own timeout or introduce them as an activity to connect as a family, we're sure you'll feel better when you're done.
Manage conflict in the home
During times of crisis, there is an increased risk of conflict in the home.
Whilst all families have their ups and downs, it is essential that everyone in the house is aware that they have the right to be safe, which includes us as adults.
Whilst family tension is hardly something that can be avoided entirely, we need to be conscious of unhealthy increases in its prevelance. Research suggests that during crisis events, family violence statistics and experiences also increase.
Regardless of the circumstances, this is never okay and there are a number of organisations available to support families experiencing these challenges. Positive outcomes rely on staying connected to family, friends, colleagues and organisations that will listen, support and guide you through these difficult times.
Reach out to support organisations
Everyone needs some advice and extra support sometimes. There is never any shame in asking for help to cope with a situation you’re unable to resolve yourself, in fact it shows great self-awareness and sets a good example for your children and young people.
We’ve listed a variety of trusted organisations below who are well equipped and ready to help you in your time of need. All you have to do is contact them.
If you, a child, young person or anyone you know is in immediate danger call 000 for help.
Crisis support services
|Service||What they do||Contact details|
|1800 RESPECT||24 hour sexual assault and domestic violence counselling service.||1800 737 732|
|Kids Helpline||Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.||1800 55 1800|
|Lifeline||National number for people in crisis at risk of dying by suicide.||13 11 14|
|Men’s Referral Service||Specifically supports men who use, or are at risk of using, violence against family members.||1300 766 491|
|Suicide Call Back Service||Free counselling service, whether a person is suicidal themselves or concerned about some else who is suicidal.||1300 659 467|
Non-crisis support services
|Service||What they do||Contact details|
|Aboriginal Family Domestic Violence Hotline||Victims Services has a dedicated contact line for Aboriginal victims of crime who would like information on victims rights, how to access counselling and financial assistance.||1800 019 123|
|Australian Childhood Foundation||Counselling specifically for children and young people experiencing abuse.||1800 176 453|
|Beyond Blue||24 hour mental health support and information for people of any age or location.||1300 22 4636|
|E Safety Commissioner||The eSafety Commissioner helps Australians deal with online abuse.||www.esafety.gov.au|
|Employee Assistance Program (EAP)||YMCA staff and volunteers have access to confidential EAP services (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).||1300 361 008 or +61 3 9658 0025 www.login.lifeworks.com|
|Headspace||Online mental health and wellbeing support for young people aged 12-25.||www.headspace.org.au/eheadspace|
|Justice Connect||Free legal advice for people at risk of being evicted for falling behind with rent.||https://justiceconnect.org.au/resources/how-does-covid-19-affect-victorian-renters|
|MensLine Australia||MensLine Australia is a telephone and online counselling service for men and boys with emotional health and relationship concerns, including issues of violence.||1300 789 978 (24 hours)|
|Mind Heart||Has developed a resource available in multiple languages to explain the Coronavirus situation to children in a child-friendly way.||https://www.mindheart.co/descargables|
|National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline||A number that can be called to report abuse and neglect of people with a disability.||1800 880 052 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|QLife||Provides support specifically for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.||1800 184 527|
|Relationships Australia||Support groups and counselling for abusive and abused partners in relationships.||1300 364 277|
|Safe Steps||Safe steps is the 24/7 access point for those in Victoria who need to leave a violent situation and access emergency crisis accommodation.||1800 015 188 (24 hours)|
|Translating & Interpreting Service (TIS)||TIS is available 24 hours a day if you or someone you know needs something translated via phone.||131 450|
|What’s Okay At Home||Website specifically for children and young people which explains what family violence is.||https://woah.org.au|