Last updated 3 April
Helping young people during the coronavirus pandemic
YACWA is continuing to advocate for young people during the coronavirus pandemic. We’re working closely with government to ensure that health and wellbeing of young West Australians and the importance of services for young people remain front of mind for policy-makers during our uncertain times.
We’ve compiled this resource for young people seeking help as we navigate our current situation. This resource will be continually updated as new information arises. If you have any suggestions for things that should be included here, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The latest rules and restrictions
The situation in Western Australia is rapidly changing. For the latest advice on interstate travel, transport within WA, schools, health and businesses, consult the WA State Government’s Coronavirus portal.
The important things to note are:
- Shopping centres and pharmacies remain open
- Public transport remains operational
- Travel between regions in WA is prohibited (excepting Peel & Perth), unless for work or where providing essential or medical services
- Interstate and international travel is severely limited
- From Monday 30 March, schools remain open but parents are encouraged to keep children home
Know the signs of COVID-19
The symptoms of COVID-19 resemble other colds and flus. They can include:
- Sore throat
- Difficulty breathing
It’s important to be mindful that these symptoms are incredibly common and there is a significant chance that they represent only a standard cold or a flu, rather than coronavirus.
What to do if you’re unwell
If you feel you may have contracted coronavirus, take precautions and limit your interaction with other people. The next best steps are:
- Consult the Department of Health’s Symptom Checker tool.
- Call the Department of Health’s Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 for advice. This line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Practice good hygiene
The best way to protect yourself is to maintain good hygiene practices. What that means is:
- Washing your hands thoroughly with soap for at least 20 seconds
- Cleaning your hands with hand sanitizer
- Protecting yourself
- Maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres from other people in a public space
- Avoid shaking hands or any other form of close contact
- Sanitize high-contact areas like kitchen services, handles, doorknobs and your phone
Seeking financial assistance
The Australian Government has instituted a temporary Coronavirus Supplement in response to the economic hardship posed by the current pandemic. That includes:
- A one-off Economic Support payment of $750 for existing Centrelink recipients
- A temporary payment of $550 per fortnight for eligible recipients, starting from 27 April
Recipients of the following payments will receive the $550 fortnightly supplement automatically:
- JobSeeker Payment
- Youth Allowance for job seekers
- Youth Allowance for students
- Austudy for students
- ABSTUDY for students
- Parenting Payment
- Farm Household Allowance
- Special Benefit
If you receive any of these payments, no action is necessary. The amount will be deposited into your account automatically starting 27 April.
The payment is also available to first-time or returning claimants if they’ve lost permanent employment, caring for someone who’s affected by coronavirus or a contractor, casual employee, self-employed worker or sole trader whose income has been reduced.
The ABC has a handy guide on how to apply for Centrelink as either a first-time or returning user.
How to maintain your mental health
YACWA and the mental health providers we work with have noted a significant and expected rise in young people struggling with mental health.
Headspace have collated a fact sheet on maintaining a healthy headspace and dealing with instability.
Beyond Blue has collated several resources for looking after your mental health during the pandemic. Their support service offers short-term counselling and referrals by phone on 1300 22 4636.
Lifeline has also assembled a resource pack for maintaining your health during self-isolation and quarantine. Their phonelines operate 7 days a week, 24 hours a day on 13 11 14, while their textline is open on 0477 13 11 14 from 3pm-9pm WA time.
Kids Helpline remains open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 55 1800.
Getting by while self-isolating
Self-isolation and social distancing are big adjustments for a lot of us. We’ve collected tips on how to adapt to share-housing while isolating, quarantining with family and the Australian Government’s tips on social distancing. We’ll be updating this section as we gather more tips and resources.
Seeking youth services
Several youth services, including accommodation providers, youth centres and emergency relief services are operating at reduced or severely limited capacity. If you require a service, call ahead of time and find out if they’re able to help you with what you’re looking for. Consult the WA Youth Services Directory for general youth service contact information or ER Connect for emergency services.
YACWA is working with the youth sector on providing a live directory of the current status of services available to young people.
Resources for Aboriginal young people and their parents
The Walkern Katadjin (Rainbow Knowledge) team have developed a toolkit in collaboration with Yorgum Healing Services for Indigenous LGBTQAI+ young people, their families and their community.