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High numbers of children struggle to cope with Covid crisis

Wednesday, 3 Feb 2021

A new survey of Australian families has revealed 52 percent of parents believe the global COVID crisis has impacted on the mental health of their children.

The study, commissioned by Life Education Australia with the support from Aussie Home Loans, also found almost 60 percent of children were sensitive to the impacts of the pandemic on family stress levels.

Life Ed CEO Kellie Sloane said the survey of 1040 parents in metropolitan and regional Australia was conducted to help measure the support needed for children, parents and teachers heading into the new school year.

“As a leading stakeholder in the health and wellbeing of school children Life Education has been very eager to establish the levels of need in the community,” Ms Sloane said.

This research helps shine a light on the resources and tools still needed to help improve the mental health of young Australians and families dealing with the continuing COVID crisis.

Ms Sloane said the survey has painted a very clear picture of what has troubled Australian families during COVID and what they are worried about in 2021.

The survey also found:

  • 65% of children felt isolated
  • 49% had increased irritability
  • 49% were worried more than usual
  • 47% were feeling sad
  • 57% of parents were concerned about COVID impacts in the year ahead

A disturbingly high number of parents rated the resilience of their children as “inconsistent”, with 41% of parents doubting the ability of their kids to bounce back from setbacks and stresses.

“The finding that more than four in ten children are coping in a sporadic way is a worry in itself,” Ms Sloane said.

“The need for ongoing resilience after such a disruptive school year and the new economic pressures of family life mean the priority for building resilience has never been higher.

“This will be central to Life Education’s strategy in the year ahead as the world continues to grapple with the pandemic, despite the imminent arrival of a vaccine.”

The survey found 86% of parents agreed or strongly agreed that teachers and schools should be receiving more support to manage resilience and 81% of parents said mums and dads needed extra help to deal with the issue.

Ms Sloane said the survey identified a demand from parents to be better informed on how to manage the stresses of their children.

“We’ve seen a real hunger for information from parents on how they should go about providing their primary and high school aged children with emotional support and peace of mind,” she said.

The survey also found:

  • 62% saw a need for additional school counsellors
  • 61% wanted more funding for specialist education providers
  • 52% called for more teacher training
  • 62% of parents wanted take home material from schools
  • 48% of parents wanted face-to-face sessions outside school hours
  • 48% wanted to be informed by webinars and online tutorials

Ms Sloane said Life Ed was equipped to play a key role in supplying and supplementing new supports with an expanding online capacity for connecting with teachers, children and their families.

“Our teams across the country innovated and adapted in 2020, fast-tracking our digital strategies and developing online learning modules and resources – and that work is intensifying.

“466,000 children still engaged with our programs despite rolling disruptions and lockdowns, and while we provided a swift response to the crisis, we also ensured we built the foundations for future impact.”

Mr Symond said Aussie is committed to supporting Life Ed achieve their mission of assisting young Australians who have faced challenges in the past year.


*The What’s Troubling Australian Parents? survey was conducted with the generous support of Life Education partners Aussie Home Loans.



Media inquiries:

Adam Walters – 0419 997372