Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Mental Health Risk For Kids

4 March 2020





With the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Australia on the rise, panic is setting in as schools, child care centres and organisations plan for the worst.

People are panic buying canned foods by the trolley load and videos are circling of physical altercations over toilet paper… But what message is this sending to our kids?

Act for Kids Executive Director of Services Dr Katrina Lines says that while it’s important to be prepared, how you communicate and exhibit this to your children will have a big impact on how they feel about the coronavirus pandemic.

“Children’s emotions feed off the adults around them, so you need to remain calm when talking about the coronavirus and isolation so that children don’t pick up on any anxieties you might be feeling,” Dr Lines says.

“It’s crucial for parents and carers to educate themselves on the coronavirus in Australia so they can give their children age appropriate information, suitable to their developmental level”.

Dr Lines says adults need to try and keep perspective on the pandemic and not buy into others’ fearful behaviours.

“It’s incredibly concerning to hear reports of physical altercations with weapons over toilet paper! This kind of overreaction tells our children that they having something to fear which is just not the case,” Dr Lines says.

With more and more Australians experiencing self-isolation of up to 14 days, remember to look out for your mental health during these exclusion periods.

We recommend that anyone supporting an individual in isolation keeps open lines of communication and encourages conversations around any fear or anxiety they are experiencing. Correct any misinformation and put things into perspective – The situation is just temporary.

For parents dealing with children in isolation, consider restricting access to the media surrounding the coronavirus and where possible, maintain normal routines and rituals such as bed times and daily tasks.

Act for Kids has released a short video to support families experiencing periods of isolation due to the coronavirus.