Here at VAEAI we have all been adjusting to new work and social practices over the previous weeks. Whilst this has been a time of significant change, VAEAI remains committed to working together to represent the Koorie community in policy development and strategic programming of education at local, state and national levels. We will continue to advance Koorie education and training and support necessary changes within our community to ensure we all remain safe and connected.
Our staff are participating in the COVID-19 Victorian Aboriginal taskforce led by the Department of Premier and Cabinet and will continue to do so throughout the pandemic, representing VAEAI and the interests of Koorie community. The taskforce has developed a community mobilisation framework which aims to map out how we will work with DHHS, other ACCO’s and community to mitigate the spread of the virus and continue to provide services and support to community in culturally appropriate ways.
In addition to this taskforce, we are working directly with the Department of Education and others to implement strategies that will support Koorie learners in their remote learning. We will continue to provide updates on these conversations as they happen.
Our staff have adapted to working from home and are making an effort to stay connected and remain positive during this time. We are supporting each other and working through creative new ways to deliver information and advice regarding education and training.
VAEAI staff will also be providing outreach to community during this time. We’ll be calling, emailing and video chatting wherever we can to get in touch with community members and check in with our networks and our mobs. VAEAI acknowledges that this is a difficult time for all and that checking in with each other and yarning about what we need in order to get through this is an important task. It is important we all continue to care for our mental health. The following are some tips that can be part of improving or maintaining your mental health:
1. Stick to a routine. Go to sleep and wake up at a reasonable time, write a schedule that is varied and includes time for work as well as self-care.
2. Dress for the social life you want, not the social life you have. Get showered and dressed in comfortable clothes, wash your face, brush your teeth. Take the time to do a bath or a facial.
3. Get out at least once a day, for at least thirty minutes. If you are concerned of contact, try first thing in the morning, or later in the evening, and try less travelled streets and avenues.
4. Find some time to move each day, again daily for at least thirty minutes.
5. Reach out to others and connect with family and friends
6. Stay hydrated and eat well.
More tips on mental health guidance from the World Health Organization can be found here: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/mental-health-considerations.pdf?sfvrsn=6d3578af_2
Finally, a reminder that the services below are available should you need to speak to someone about your mental health:
- VAHS Family Counselling Service – (03) 9403
- Your Local ACCHO
- Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636 www.beyondblue.org.au
- Lifeline 13 11 14 – www.lifeline.org.au
In the coming weeks we will continue to keep you updated around our work and the support we’re providing. We urge everyone to continue following the hygiene advice from health authorities and continue with physical distancing rules.