It feels like ages since things have been normal. Since we’ve been able to catch up with friends, go to a café for brunch, hang out at the beach…
Coronavirus lockdowns brought everything to a halt very quickly. Australian doctors and nurses are doing a heroic job stopping the spread of COVID-19, but meanwhile allied health professionals in the Health and Community Services sector are fighting another battle.
Young people and mental health in times of pandemic
Kids Helpline reported a spike in calls from young people aged 19-25 last month. The counselling service, which helps kids and young adults dealing with mental health issues, experienced a 30% jump in demand overall.
Normally younger teenagers aged 13-18 contact the allied health provider most often. Now the pandemic is sending a wave of uncertainty and loneliness through every age group, and the effects are starting to become clear.
Missing social life, worries about the future, anxiety about allied health services
Most of the contacts came from young people who were:
- Concerned about navigating daily activities like study, sport, or going to the gym
- Upset about missing a pre-booked holiday
- Worried about the virus affecting other people
- Anxious about access to food, health services, or counselling
- Experiencing bullying due to race
Clearly this is a big issue in Australia. And it’s not just Kids Helpline on the front line: the entire Health and Community Services sector, from youth workers to mental health peer support groups and aged carers, are feeling the strain.
Social isolation is compounding an existing problem. Already 1 in 4 young Australians experienced a mental health issue, and now financial stress, health fears, and uncertainty about the future, are all adding to the pressure.
What’s the solution?
Australia needs more qualified, caring allied health professionals (anyone in healthcare who isn’t a doctor, nurse or dentist) to overcome the mental health crisis Coronavirus has brought on. The Government announced a huge funding package to support a range of counselling services, but we still need the people on phones and online chat services to fill the gap.
Becoming a qualified allied health professional is one way you can help. TrainSmart Australia offer a range of nationally recognised online courses like counselling, youth work, mental health peer support, community services, aged care and more.
The world might be upside-down, but you can help to turn it back around and pursue an incredibly fulfilling career in Health and Community Services at the same time.
Support resources you can access
Remember, there’s nothing wrong with talking to someone about how you’re feeling. Thousands of other young Australians do it every day and it helps.