This World Mental Health Day – Saturday 10 October – the message is simple: “Look after your mental health, Australia.” It’s easy to say, not always so easy to do, but with the support of a village there is hope!
Playgroup Australia is proud to partner with Mental Health Australia in promising to look after our mental health, and to support the mental health of all in the Playgroup Village and beyond.
This World Mental Health Day we promise to prioritise inclusive playgroup initiatives to close the gap, and advocate for child and family wellbeing Australia-wide. We promise to encourage playfulness and connectedness through Playgroup at Home virtual initiatives, and through safe return to playgroups where possible.
Playgroup Australia CEO, Fiona May, said “families tell us that being part of a playgroup is not only great for children, but also for parents. They tell us about playgroups being a sanity saver, a place to relax, and a place to connect with other parents. These are all important for mental health and wellbeing and we encourage all families with young children to connect to a playgroup. Start by contacting your state or territory playgroup organisation. While many groups are not meeting face to face due to Covid-19, there is still a lot of support available for families, including online playgroup activity and play resources.”
Looking after mental health has never been more important. The challenges faced on a global level have provided the opportunity to readdress and reform policies and services to build back better for children and families. For many, fires, floods, storms and the ongoing Covid pandemic has seen families face loss of income, isolation, and increased anxiety.
However, it has also highlighted the benefit of increased investment for children and families through relief funding. This alone is not enough. While we welcome the recent Federal Budget announcements to increase funding for mental health, we do believe there is a missed opportunity to invest in children and families. Mental health and wellbeing are improved when children and families have access to supports like quality early childhood programs, housing, food security and a safe, connected community.
“Good mental health is absolutely fundamental to overall health and well-being. COVID-19 has interrupted essential mental health services around the world just when they’re needed most. World leaders must move fast and decisively to invest more in life-saving mental health programs ̶ during the pandemic and beyond.” – Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.
Now and beyond Covid, we need governments to prioritise children and families, and in turn strengthen the foundation for improved equality and wellbeing. National reform is vital to preventing more children and families falling through the cracks and becoming at risk of poverty. To build back better for mental health, early investment is essential. Let’s #buildbackbettertogether to raise a strong, connected and thriving community!
Physical distancing is crucial right now, making social connection at home and in your neighbourhood more important than ever. We encourage all in the Playgroup community to use technology to talk to your friends and family. Where you can’t meet face-to-face, reach out, safely to your those in your community.
Most importantly – take a few moments each day to play with your children. Parent and child play helps strengthen the parent-child relationship and releases feel good endorphins that help the mind and body cope with stress. Put away the tech and turn off the tv. Explore the outdoors, cuddle up with a book, and let your child lead play for happier brain and heart health!
This World Mental Health Day make play part of your wellbeing routine, and help lay the foundation for mental and physical health.
1 in 5 Australians are affected by mental illness annually, yet many don’t seek help because of stigma. During the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritising mental health and wellbeing has become more important than ever! We encourage the Playgroup Community to stay connected, stay safe and stay playful with our top tips below.
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