Cr Les Power: Youth feel stress of pandemic too

Published on 10 June 2021

Cr Les Power

I am hoping that everyone is feeling slightly better this week, with the easing of regional Covid restrictions now in play.

It’s been an incredibly tough week, and while grateful that we are no longer in strict lock-down, we are not out of the woods and the situation could change at any moment.

I am pleased that the government has listened to regional Victorians and responded accordingly and removed the five reasons to leave home and allow businesses and retail to re-open under Covidsafe guidelines.

But it is rather disappointing that this latest outbreak will lower the number of people who can travel to our towns, especially during the upcoming Queens Birthday long weekend.

I know many operators were anticipating big numbers, and this is yet another enormous blow.

But for those of us here, I implore you to get around our towns and support our local businesses in whatever way you can.

I also feel for the many teenagers that are finding it tough to live a normal adolescent life.

Events like debutante balls, discos and birthday parties haven’t been able to happen as they normally would for more than 12 months now.

Community sport had made a really pleasing comeback here in the Wimmera so let’s hope it can all pick up where it left off.

However the strict return to play protocols and regulated training regimes have impacted how our young people engage with sport.

Several club leaders have mentioned that there are more severe mood changes among the kids, with many losing motivation for sport all together.

It is easy to assume that children and young people don’t really care about the COVID risk, but studies have found they are very concerned not only for their own health, but for the health of loved ones, including older people such as their grandparents.

This highlights an important point that while many children have returned to sport, our community needs to ask questions about the children and families who have not, why, and what can be done to reconnect them with sport.

The same can be said for volunteers.

While many will naturally return with enthusiasm and energy, other volunteers, which are typically parents involved in youth sport, may be less inclined for a variety of reasons.

It goes without saying that this is a stressful time for us all, and one that requires a lot of change and adjustment.  Beyond Blue and Headspace have some good information on looking after your mental health.

I’m proud of what a resilient community we are – let’s continue to support each other, look out for one another and be considerate and caring during this challenging time.