YOUTH welfare experts in Ballarat are urging parents and friends to keep to keep teenagers in the loop and to have a bit of fun with each other amid isolation.
Even if it means putting a biscuit on your forehead and trying to get it in your mouth only using your facial muscles.
Headspace Ballarat is promoting the selfie-based biscuit challenge as a bit of fun inspiration, just like sharing pet photos, to promote positive messaging.
The youth mental health organisation is also encouraging young people to pledge to contacting a friend you had not spoken to in a while during COVID-19 isolation,
Headspace Ballarat youth engagement officer Andy Penny said it was important to protect and support young people and families in an uncertain time.
"We've got young people with mental health concerns before COVID-19 and now there's added anxiety," Mr Penny said. "It's important to look at what's in your control and what's not in your control."
Ballarat Police Leading Senior Constable Des Hudson, who leads the police youth Blue Light Blue Edge program, said as adults we can get focused on the constant news cycle and what this means for our community. But, often young people needed reassurance.
Leading Senior Constable Hudson said it was important to keep talking to young people, to keep them in the loop with information and realities, and being aware of possible anxieties.
He said the extended school break and uncertainty surrounding term two dates could be a particularly tough time for at-risk youth for whom school, structure and friends was a haven.
Screen time for catching up with friends could be a good thing, Leading Senior Constable Hudson said, but so too was time outdoors that would have naturally been part of school breaks.
He too, planned to have some fun with his daughters by bringing out his old Test Match cricket board game.
Headspace Ballarat is operating drop-in and counselling services via phone (5304 4777) and conferencing site Zoom. The team is also becoming more active on social media, particularly Instagram, with tips for young people.
And yeah, grab a biscuit.
KEY DETAILS TO KNOW
Kids Help Line: 1800 55 1800
Headspace Ballarat, including parent support: 5304 4777; headspace.org.au/eheadspace; @headspaceBallarat on Instagram and Facebook
Beyond Blue:1300 22 4636 24 hours a day or via beyondblue.org.au/get-support.
HEADSPACE'S SEVEN TIPS FOR A HEALTHY HEADSPACE
- Get into life - do stuff you love and things that are important to you
- Learning skills for tough times, like a digital detox, writing things down or deep breathing
- Create connections, even it it means virtually staying in touch with family and friends
- Eat well
- Stay active
- Get enough sleep
- Stay away from drugs and alcohol
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