Foundation extends support to assist Kids Helpline services through the pandemic
Kids Helpline says children and young people are bearing the brunt of ongoing pandemic anxiety across the nation, revealing that an average of 15 emergency care interventions per day are being made by counsellors to help a child that is in immediate harm or danger.
Tracy Adams, CEO of yourtown, which runs Kids Helpline, said isolation and fear of what the future holds is weighing heavily on young people across Australia at this time.
“Not only are the contacts increasing but the severity and complexity of their needs are too. Children and young people are increasingly experiencing serious mental health concerns, including suicidal ideation or behaviour and self-harm,” Adams said.
According to Kids Helpline, an 80% increase in contacts from 5–10-year-old children, while 13–18-year-olds represent the largest segment of contacts.
They also found an increase of 200% in emergency interventions by Kids Helpline counsellors for children and young people in Victoria in the first six months of 2021, and an increase of 40% in emergency interventions by Kids Helpline counsellors for children and young people in New South Wales in the first six months of 2021.
In support of this essential service, the Bupa Foundation has provided an additional donation of $100,000, bringing the Foundation’s total commitment to Kids Helpline to $1.45m over the past year.
Hisham El-Ansary, Bupa Asia Pacific CEO, said this extended funding would go towards addressing the immediate surge in demand experienced by Kids Helpline, while the Bupa Foundation continues to support longer term strategies to nurture the mental health and well-being of young Australians.
“Supporting the mental health of our young people has never been so important,” Mr El-Ansary said.
Bupa is encouraging its customers, its people and the general public to support Kids Helpline by donating here if they are in a position to do so.
To help parents look after the mental health of their children, Kids Helpline Counsellor, Amanda Grehan has the shared following tips:
- Be aware of your own feelings (as children can pick up on these) and make sure you are looking after your own wellbeing as a parent
- Be curious and ask questions about their thoughts and feelings (don’t make assumptions as these might be wrong, e.g. some children may enjoy aspects of lockdown)
- Invite questions and answer as simply and honestly as possible. Let them know that it’s ok to say, “I don’t know. Say, “let’s find out the answer to this together!”
- Problem-solve together. We can’t make Covid-19 go away, but we can find creative solutions to other problems, e.g. “Your soccer game was cancelled due to lockdown. Why don’t we have a fun family match in the backyard?”
- Switch off and take time out together. Constant news about Covid-19 can be overwhelming, so it’s important to take a break and spend time together as a family