Supporting Lithgow youth through COVID-19
headspace Lithgow have reported an increase in presentations related to feelings of anxiousness about the COVID-19 pandemic and ‘second wave’ fears.
Jason Eggins, headspace Lithgow Youth Care Coordinator says there are ways to manage anxiety and stress during the pandemic.
“It’s great that young people are connecting with us to talk about their anxiety and we encourage them to continue to do so. There are also simple strategies young people can practice to minimise stress about COVID-19,” Jason said.
The 24-hour news cycle and access to a world of information can cause stress and uncertainty. Jason encourages young people to take a break from social and traditional media if they find it overwhelming.
“There’s a lot of information available and while most of it is helpful and informative, it can still be a lot to digest and stressful. Minimising exposure to social and traditional media for periods of time can be helpful, but it’s also important to get your news from reputable sources like the state government,” Jason said.
Staying connected to people who boost your mood is also a great way to switch off from the information overload, as is keeping a regular routine as best you can.
“As long as you’re following government guidelines, being with friends and doing things that make you happy are excellent for your mental health.
Also try to keep your schedule and activities going as they were before this time – if possible. Keeping your routine makes things feel normal and structured,” Jason said.
Parents/carers and teachers can also play a role in reducing anxiety by creating open and honest environments for safe discussions about the young person’s fears.
“Always listen to the young person and let them know that it’s normal to feel concerned but they are safe and the situation is temporary. Relate facts without causing alarm, and in a way that’s appropriate for their temperament and age,” Jason said.
If young people need support, they are encouraged to contact the headspace Lithgow centre, or speak to a counsellor via eheadspace.org.au
Tips for maintaining a healthy headspace during this time:
- Be mindful of exposure to information through stories, traditional and social media. It can be helpful to take a break from the 24-hour news cycle.
- Do things that make you feel physically and emotionally safe, and connect with those who are helpful to your wellbeing.
- Engage in activities that promote a sense of calm and feeling grounded (remember that alcohol and other drugs can be counterproductive to this).
- Make an appointment with headspace Lithgow or visit eheadspace.org.au to chat to a counsellor online or via phone
headspace Lithgow is supported by funding from Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains PHN as part of the Australian Government’s PHN program.