Record numbers of early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals, along with educators in other fields of education, have been accessing mental health and wellbeing advice and support since the COVID-19 pandemic began in Australia, Beyond Blue has said. Since March Be You, Beyond Blue’s free national education initiative, has experienced a 65 per cent increase in web visits compared to the same period last year, with resources specific to the pandemic having received more than 115,000 visits and over 5,300 downloads since they were made available on 20 March. The Be You resources offer advice and tools to educators, principals, families and carers about how they can support the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people and are backed up by a Be You team around the country. “The increased engagement with Be You reminds us that educators care deeply about the social and emotional wellbeing of their students,” Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman said. With some parts of the country returning to online learning and increased social distancing measures, Ms Harman said it was important for educators to safeguard their own wellbeing. While it is normal to feel stressed when adapting to restrictions brought about by the pandemic, Ms Harman said the following points may help educators to navigate this space:
Lower your expectations about what is possible;
DRAFTJS_BLOCK_KEY:bffoqRecord ndaries around work hours and schedule downtime;
Get enough sleep, eat well and exercise within public health guidelines;
Debrief with colleagues, family or friends;
And maintain social connections through video/phone calls or social media.
In supporting children and families, Ms Harman cautioned that educators are not mental health professionals, and are not expected to have all the answers when it comes to supporting the mental health of children and young people, especially at this time of uncertainty. “I want to reassure educators and families across Australia that practical support and guidance is available now as they adapt to changes in the delivery of education” she added. Be You was developed by Beyond Blue in partnership with delivery partners Early Childhood Australia and headspace and may be accessed here. The free Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is available 24/7 online, here, or by calling 1800 512 348.