Harrowing new data from the Kids Helpline shows the emotional toll Daniel Andrews’ lockdowns are taking on the youngest Victorians.
Victoria recorded the highest demand for the mental health support service than anywhere in the nation with a 68 per cent increase in May to July this year, from 3190 calls to 3632 per week.
By comparison, calls increased about 50 per cent in both New South Wales and South Australia.
Shadow Minister for Mental Health Emma Kealy said the isolation of lockdown was weighing heavy on young people, aged between 5 and 25 years old.
“Almost all of us who’ve been home-schooling over the past 18 months have had our own experience of seeing their child simply not coping with yo-yoing in and out of the classroom,” Ms Kealy said.
“Whether it’s school closures and ever-changing routines, isolation from their friends and family, or being unable to do the things they love which keep them physically and mentally well, including community sport, music and art lessons, these lockdowns are taking a growing toll.
“Despite this, the Andrews Labor Government refuses to apply common sense and compassion to its COVID response or to give us a plan to keep kids in the classroom.”
Dozens of medical research papers now available from across the world have demonstrated school closures do far more harm to our children’s mental health and educational outcomes – especially among vulnerable children already facing disadvantage.
Ms Kealy said the roll out of rapid testing in schools and prioritising our teachers in the vaccination rollout are common sense steps forward that can be implemented now to keep our schools open.
“The Andrews Labor Government claims every decision in its COVID response is based on public health advice,” Ms Kealy said.
“How much longer will our children suffer before Daniel Andrews listens to the experts?
“The Andrews Labor Government is guilty of having no plan out of lockdown and for Victoria’s recovery. Our kids are paying the price.”