It's a little sad that I've now got more time to write in the midst of COVID-19! On the one hand, I've been less busy with client work because people are cancelling appointments. On the other hand, I've been busier in terms of getting myself set up to deliver counselling online, researching best practices, addressing concerns of my current clients, and keeping up to date with the government's announcements on how psychologists should deliver services in these times. It's definitely preoccupying my brain at the moment!
I hesitated to write this post because my inbox - and probably yours - is full of COVID-19 position statements, policies, promotions, and encouragements. So I won't talk about how the virus and its impact are ever-present and frankly, overwhelming at times. You already know this; you're living it. However, people have asked me for online resources and I thought it would be good to have them in one place.
Perhaps these things that others have written might speak to you. As I work a lot with children, young people, and their families, my bias is towards that!
The Australian Psychological Society: Coronavirus (Covid-19) information for Australians, which includes tips for coping with anxiety about the virus and staying mentally healthy.
Kirrilie Smout of Developing Minds: How to answer children/young people’s worries and questions about Coronavirus: Sample words to say.
Kirrilie also made a great five-minute animated video for 4-11 year olds about Coronavirus and how to cope.
Headspace Australia: How young people can cope with stress related to Covid-19
Headspace, the meditation app (unrelated to Headspace, the Australian youth mental health organisation) has some free mindfulness meditation recordings.
End Violence Against Children: Protecting children during the COVID-19 outbreak
Dr Russ Harris: FACE COVID (pdf), a set of practical steps for responding effectively to the Coronacrisis, using the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
If you're looking for counselling at this time for whatever reason, it's worth asking what your psychologist can provide. Psychologists are considered "essential services" by the Australian government and at the time of writing we can still provide face-to-face sessions (taking into account safety precautions). The government has also made some allowances for video-conferencing and phone consultations, so please inquire about that if you are unsure about leaving the house!
The words of Sarah Kendzior, a US writer and scholar, wrote the following in 2016 in reference to something different, but no less relevant now. The bit in bold has particularly been on my mind:
Do not accept brutality and cruelty as normal even if it is sanctioned. Protect the vulnerable and encourage the afraid. If you are brave, stand up for others. If you cannot be brave – and it is often hard to be brave – be kind.
Be kind, to yourselves and others. <3