University launches COVID-19 mental health guide

University launches COVID-19 mental health guide

Macquarie University has launched a website to help guide teachers and parents in supporting students and children with mental health concerns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The new website, called “COVID-19: We’ve got this covered!,” provides focused strategies on how to manage anxiety and depression during the crisis, and includes expert tips, videos from professionals and contacts for further support.

It was created in response to the University’s recent study, which revealed that 60% of parents and 88% of teachers were concerned about children’s mental health amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Macquarie’s Centre for Emotional Health and School of Education surveyed 350 students, parents, and education and health professionals to understand their concerns, and found the need for a comprehensive online resource to keep children mentally healthy during these uncertain times.

“We reached out to parents, teachers and young people to ask how we could help, and what exactly they wanted to know. The website responds directly to those queries by providing freely accessible and evidence-based information for Australian families and schools,” said Professor Jennie Hudson, Director at Centre for Emotional Health.

“Backed by Macquarie University academics’ expertise and research in children’s emotional health and education, this free digital resource provides support, resources and contacts for those children and teens not coping with the disruptions this unprecedented crisis has produced,” she said.

Early intervention

Professor Hudson said that the isolation and uncertainty caused by the pandemic can be a “perfect storm” that exacerbates mental health problems in children and young people.

“As students across Australia transition back to school and resume face-to-face classes over the remainder of the year, ambiguity remains for children, families and teachers,” she said.

Professor Hudson also said that early intervention has played a crucial role in helping children deal with mental health concerns.

“It is well documented that the prevention and early intervention of anxiety and depression in this cohort can result in health, economic, social and education benefits across the lifespan,” she said.