The recent lockdowns have presented us with broad and varied challenges. These range from financial issues, relationship challenges and concerns around employment and job security. One thing all of these have in common, is their effect on our mental health. Medical professions have long highlighted the need to focus on helping adults and children deal with mental health. Especially depression and suicide.
There is now a growing awareness in corporate Australia of mental health and Employee Wellbeing. These include new changes in corporate behaviour initiated during recent lockdowns. During this time, everyone recognised the struggles of balancing the demands of a “stay at home” and “work from home” parent at once.
Naturally, parents have many questions regarding the long term impact on their children.
This article is part of a series identifying changes in behaviour that can help with mental health issues highlighted during the pandemic. The lockdowns may have gone away but their effects and reputations will be felt for many years.
As a Parent During Lockdown
Nothing could’ve prepared parents for these extraordinary times. Nor for the merging of their two worlds – working from home and being a parent to children stuck at home. Parents understandably feel guilty for the social and academic difficulties experienced by their children. This includes when they are removed from their friends and the school environment. As an employee, many parents may also feel responsible for any lowered output. For not giving a full 8 hour day or “badly” multi-tasking your many roles.
Work and home life have now merged into one. With prolonged lockdowns and movement restrictions, our “work-life balance” is completely lopsided. This requires a completely new level of flexibility and discipline, done consciously and purposely.
It’s important for parents to manage their own anxiety. If we as parents demonstrate worry, then that is likely to translate into anxiety for our children also.
It’s really important for parents to understand what message they want to impart. Parents need to work together to make sure that they present a calm face to young people. They need to reassure them that, yes, times are tough, however, there is a long and bright future.
As adults, we deal with many adversities and manage to get through and learn from those experiences. It’s essential that our children understand this. The security of this knowledge will greatly benefit them.
This is a short summary of the first-ever MOOD Tea Break.
MOOD is an organisation that exists to help prevent youth suicide. They do that by funding mental health projects.
The topic of this Tea Break was to discuss the challenges presented by the cycle of lockdowns across Australia. They partnered with the team at Tonic Media Network to bring together some experts to help answer questions from the public.
Hundreds of people attended this widely received webinar.
The topic covered concerns regarding children’s mental, physical and educational well being and any adverse effects on their growth.
It also discussed ideas on how parents and adults can look after their own wellbeing. Parents of course had to balance work and parenting at the same time, often one overlapping the other and many had to become impromptu teachers, finding themselves having to recall their dreaded subjects which they thought they left behind in High School – trigonometry nightmares anyone.
Finally the topic discussed the changes in Australian working culture and expectations, the resoluteness of human beings who have come through crisis and they need to assure each other that we are in this together, and we will soon be out of this together.
Jenni Hayward – General Manager at Mood
Dr. Norman Swan from Tonic Media Network.
Maggie Dent host of ABC Podcast “Parental as Anything”.
Aimee Buchanan from MCEO.
Elizabeth Scott, a psychiatrist at the University of Sydney, The Brain and Mind Centre.