May 15, 2020
Have you been feeling more down or anxious lately? You are not alone. 83% of young people feel that the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened their mental health (UK Young Minds Survey).

Some of the main reasons were:

  1. Worrying about falling sick, their family falling sick, or accidentally spreading the virus to others
  2. Being unable to attend school physically because they worry they might fall behind in their studies, fall out with friends, lose structure and stability, or be unable access to school support.
  3. Loss of routine, especially if regular activities (e.g. exercise classes) that help them cope have stopped, or they tend to get trapped in negative thoughts when spending more time alone.
  4. Loss of social connection especially if they have limited access to, or are uncomfortable, using technology. Some people also feel that talking online is just not the same, miss meeting in-person and feel more alone.

What can help?

  • Remind yourself worrying is normal, keeps us safe and you have a right to feel this way.
  • Grieve with gratitude. Look forward to enjoying everything you miss with new-found appreciation when our lives go back to “normal”. Try appreciating what you still have (e.g. health, friends online) and new opportunities (e.g. more family and hobby time).
  • Focus on things within your control. Your power against COVID-19 is in not only practicing good hygiene and social distancing, but also spreading positivity, care and concern to fight loneliness and fear.

I know many of you are feeling afraid, anxious or disempowered in the face of everything going on right now. Here are my words for you today. Remember... ⁣ Your power is in the choices you make each day to turn your knowledge into small actions ⁣ ⁣ Your power is in staying informed but doing so wisely and with intention so as not to be overwhelmed⁣ ⁣ Your power is in speaking truth, not diminishing the fear of others or creating more of that fear where it need not exist⁣ ⁣ Your power is in making choices that support your health and the health of others ⁣ ⁣ Your power is in the simple acts of washing your hands, caring for your health, and soothing your nervous system⁣ ⁣ Your power is in recognizing a community response involves all of us acting together to support and care for one another ⁣ ⁣ Your power involves doing what you can to be safe and well and supporting others in doing the same ⁣ ⁣ That is how we hold our power in this time. Not through fear or threats or overreacting but through intention, action, and love.

A post shared by Kelsey Mech (@kelseymech) on

Remember that strength grows from struggle and that this too shall pass.
  • Get your daily dose of positivity. Follow accounts like Upworthy and Good News Movement (more positive news sources here) and/or start a group chat with loved ones to share positive messages (e.g. gratitude, funny memes, cute animal videos, inspiring quotes).
  • Schedule 10-20 minutes of “worry time” a day to write out and/or talk about your worries to someone supportive. ReachOut’s WorryTime app might help you with this.
  • Create a new routine and “normal”. Set regular bed/wake times and plan your week to include not only time for homework, but also fun things (e.g. hobbies), exercise/time outside, as well as social time with people you live with and friends/family over devices.
  • Get creative in connecting with others online. Exercise together over video chat, start an online book club or host virtual karaoke! Look out for a future article with more ideas.
  • Spend quality time connecting with people at home. Make a regular time to do fun things like bike rides, walks, board games or movie nights and take this opportunity to bond.
  • Brainstorm as many solo activities as possible. Have this list handy for ideas when you start to feel bored or caught up in negative thoughts.
  • Open up to someone you trust (e.g. parent, friend, counsellor, teacher). They are likely to be struggling with similar things too and this can help you feel understood and less alone.
Written by the MLC Counselling Team

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