Sunday Territorian Sun 22 Aug 2021
Sunday Territorian; NewspaperNT
Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
News Corp Australia
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News Corp Australia
SUNDAY AUGUST 22 2021 NEWS 09 V4 - NTNE01Z01MA ing on businesses, our besieged health system, and the travel industry. Associate Professor Lakra said the RANZCP was very worried about the impact of lockdowns on children. Some of it is related to school closures they are not able to be with their peers, and there is uncertainty, he said. It is very important for kids to be with family and friends, and to play and be able to go out. It is a tight balance in slowing the spread of the virus and looking after our wellbeing. At what point does it start to become harmful to peoples health and wellbeing? A lot of people will not access health care. Demand for help is overwhelming some psychiatrists, who have described the exhaustion for doctors and mega wait times for patients, in a confidential survey by the RANZCPs NSW branch. The emergency department is absolutely heaving, one psychiatrist told the survey. Shortages of some antidepressants, unemployment, social isolation, family violence, drug and alcohol use and the closure of sport and gyms were fuelling mental illness. Exhausted, burnt out, demoralised struggling with depressed women with new babies that cant get support face-to-face (because there are) no mothers groups young people unable to see friends and are stuck at home with parents, a psychiatrist wrote. Really tired and drained first time, I feel I might need support, said another. Kids Helpline, run by yourtown with corporate and government funding, has revealed that calls from distraught children have surged 20 per cent since the start of the pandemic, with ambulances or police called 37 times a week to save suicidal children. Three times more children have called the hotline in Sydney during the citys lengthy lockdown this year, compared to the first lockdown last year. There is clear evidence that the lockdown is impacting the wellbeing of children and young people, yourtown chief executive Tracy Adams said. Mission Australias survey of 25,000 teenagers aged 15 to 17 has also exposed widespread distress over lockdowns and school closures. Lifeline recorded its three busiest days in its 57-year history this month, coinciding with lockdowns in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. Calls to the suicide hotline have surged 20 per cent since the start of the pandemic. Deepening despair as kids wait for mental health aid KIDS in crisis are waiting up to nine months to see burnt-out psychiatrists, as Covid-19 lockdowns trigger a mental health meltdown among distraught children and teenagers. As crisis help lines report a surge in the number of suicidal adults and children, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has warned the nation needs 40 per cent more psychiatrists to deal with demand for professional help. Pandemic panic has led to a surge in emergency department visits from children who have self-harmed or attempted suicide since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year. Waiting times for new patients have stretched to as long as nine months and some exhausted and burnt-out psychiatrists are so busy they have closed their books to new patients. We cant stay in lockdown forever, RANZCP president Associate Professor Vinay Lakra told News Corp Australia. Theres been a 25 per cent to 45 per cent increase in emergency department visits from children and adolescents. There are more than sixmonth wait times (for an initial consultation to see a psychiatrist). We only have 60 per cent of (the psychiatrists) we need. News Corp Australia today launches a special report Lockdowns: The Real Cost, which explores how lockdowns over the past 18 months have wreaked havoc across the country. Today, we explore the impact it is having on the mental health of our children. On Monday, we examine the impact the closure of schools is having not only on students and their education, but parents struggling with home schooling and work. The series will also look at the impact lockdowns are hav NATASHA BITA Counsellors at a Kids Helpline centre. Picture: Supplied A DISTRAUGHT nine-year-old boy wanting to die after losing a beloved pet. A 12-year-old girl left to look after five siblings, including a baby, with alcoholic parents in lockdown. A suicidal teenager alone and desperate in a tiny apartment with nothing but the clothes in her suitcase. These are some of the heartbreaking calls being taken by Kids Helpline counsellors who fielded nearly 10,000 calls last week including calls from 3277 kids in locked-down NSW, 2663 in Victoria and 1583 in Queensland. Kids Helpline has doubled the number of counsellors since the start of the pandemic last March, with 200 staff trained to counsel, calm and console distraught children as young as five. The counsellors are on duty around the clock at the frontline of a mental health epidemic among the children and teenagers growing up in the Covid-19 pandemic. Cooped-up with stressed parents and struggling with schoolwork, children are suffering unprecedented levels of anxiety and depression that is tragically leading to self-harm or suicide. Emergencies happen five times a day, on average, when counsellors must call an ambulance, police or child safety staff to rescue a child in immediate danger of harm. Archie, who works as a counsellor at the Kids Helpline headquarters in Brisbane, recently called an ambulance to help a suicidal teenager who had been moving interstate for work but got trapped by border closures. She had nothing but a bag of clothes, he said. Its a really isolating situation. Young people are really being forgotten. Archie said many children are struggling with lockdown isolation and anxiety over catching Covid-19. Some might be thinking about ending their life, feeling disappointed and hopeless about not achieving well at school, he said. Archie sometimes needs to take a break between some really intense calls. Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 NATASHA BITA DISTRAUGHT CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS FIVE CALLING FOR HELP LOCKDOWNS THE REAL COST how much reassurance youve needed to give them, she said. The children Im talking about here have no constant, loving, attachment in their lives to reassure or protect them during these scary times. They sleep rough when the streets are empty and everyone else locks themselves away from the pandemic. Ms Siegel-Brown said some foster carers were reluctant to take in children during the pandemic, as they feared catching Covid-19 or had trouble caring for traumatised children. It is a great step that in places like Sydney, hotel accommodation is now being provided to people sleeping rough, as we have seen happen in other states during periods of lockdown, she said. Its a shame that it takes a pandemic to finally achieve a roof over their head but it still does not give a child relief from the fear, or the parental figure they so desperately need during this point in their development. SCARED street kids have nowhere to live because foster carers dont want to take in children during Covid-19 lockdowns, a child safety group has warned. Save the Childrens Child Wise managing director Natalie Siegel-Brown said 20,000 children younger than 14 are homeless across Australia. Some have run away from violent families or caregivers, Ms Siegel-Brown said. Some have been removed from their families by child protection authorities but have not been given a place to live either with a family or even in a residential setting. Ms Siegel-Brown a former Public Guardian in Queensland said some children had been abandoned by child protection systems designed to be responsible for their care. Think about how scared your kids have been at various points by the pandemic and E XC LU S I V E NATASHA BITA Scared and living on the streets Gain the skills you Need For the job you want Future-focussed certificate courses in a range of industries mackillopnt.catholic.edu.au/rto