This page is designed to inform and support you, boost your mental and physical wellbeing, and keep you safe and supported during this challenging time of coronavirus (COVID-19). While a lot of this information is general in nature, some of this information is directed towards people living on the Border and in North East Victoria.

With more people staying at home to reduce the community spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), there may be an increased risk for women and children experiencing family violence or abuse—to find out more, please visit our COVID-19 and family violence webpage.

If you need someone to talk to, call:

  • HeadtoHelp on 1800 595 212, 8.30 am and 5 pm (Mon–Fri), for free mental health and wellbeing support (no referral required) from mental health clinicians. There are 15 HeadtoHelp hubs across Victoria and callers will be directed to their closest hub, or the closest appropriate service. In the Murray PHN region, HeadtoHelp hubs are provided by Bendigo Community Health Services, and Gateway Health in Wodonga.  
  • Partners in Wellbeing telephone hotline on 1300 375 330, 9 am – 10 pm (Mon–Fri) (Vic only). This free phone service offers one-on-one support to help you improve your wellbeing, develop strategies to cope and provide emotional support when and as you need it during the Coronavirus pandemic and beyond. Additional support for business owners is now available through access to business advisors and financial counsellors. Regional Victorians can find out more here
  • Beyond Blue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service on 1800 512 348, where you can access trained counsellors 24/7.
  • Lifeline on 131 114—Lifeline provides 24- hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Get the facts

Key messages for the community
Local information
Latest information and advice
Prevention
PPE
Workforce support
Telehealth
Webinars and training related to COVID-19
Podcasts
Financial assistance and economic response
Community resilience and recovery
Evidence and Research

Information and support

People with existing health conditions
Mothers, pregnancy and babies
Children
Young people
Parents and carers
Professionals working with children or young people
Women
Older people
People who identify as LGBTIQ
People with disabilities
Culturally and linguistically diverse communities
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Mental and physical wellbeing

Social connection
Global community-support activities
Keeping healthy and coronavirus FAQs
Keeping active
Fun and education
Remote learning
Protecting yourself online
Creative expression
Mental health and emotional wellbeing
Alcohol and other drugs
Loss and grief

Keeping safe and supported

Family violence
Emergency relief
Legal and consumer rights

Key messages for the community

The following key messages are provided by the Victorian Government (as of 16 August 2020):

  • Stay home and get tested if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) no matter how mild. Symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, loss of sense of smell or taste. Go home straight after your test and self-isolate while you wait for the results. Go to the DHHS testing map for locations.
  • Wear a face mask or covering when you leave home, unless a lawful exception applies.
  • This is a difficult and uncertain time for all, so support is vital and available. For more information on managing stress and support options, call the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Services on 1800 512 348.
  • Financial support is available—visit our Financial assistance and economic response section.
  • For information and advice about Victoria’s current restriction levels, visit the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website.
  • The ‘Partners in Wellbeing’ hotline has extended their operating hours to 10 pm on weekdays. The hotline number is 1300 375 330. See further details at the top of this page.
  • A translated fact sheet on how to ‘Reduce your risk of coronavirus (COVID-19)’, and a video showing ‘how to safely wear a mask’, are available—see the first dot point in our Culturally and linguistically diverse communities section.

Local information

  • The following information is from Murray PHN as well as health services and councils in the local government areas of Albury, Indigo, Towong and Wodonga.
  • For information from health services and councils in the local government areas of Alpine, Benalla, Mansfield and Wangaratta, please visit the the Central Hume PCP website—COVID-19.
  • For emergency food relief in Wodonga, Albury and Corowa, please access this spreadsheet which provides a description of the food relief provider, contact details and information on eligibility.

COVID-19 assessment and respiratory clinics

Assessment or fever clinics have been established at a number of locations by the Commonwealth and State Governments. Locations of respiratory clinics across North East Victoria include:

Hospital respiratory clinics

  • Albury Wodonga Health, Wodonga—Call (02) 6058 4444 to arrange an appointment for a test.
  • Benalla Health—Call (03) 5761 4284 before attending. Open 9 am – 3 pm, Monday to Friday
  • Goulburn Valley Health, Shepparton—Open daily 10 am – 6 pm
  • North East Health Wangaratta—Call 1800 324 942 to arrange an appointment for a test.
  • To see a map of available clinics across Victoria, click here.

GP respiratory clinics

  • Wodonga’s Central Medical Group Respiratory Clinic will assess anyone in the community who has mild or moderate symptoms—not just Central Medical Group patients. The clinic will operate weekdays at 228 Beechworth Rd, Wodonga. People will drive up to a triage area, park in spaces dedicated to the respiratory clinic, and then be guided by staff to the clinic, which has been set up in the building usually occupied by Flex Out Physiotherapy. Register for an appointment online or phone (02) 6067 2437 to arrange an appointment for a test.
  • For a full list of GP respiratory clinics and how to book an appointment, visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) GP respiratory clinics (Australian Government).

The purpose of respiratory clinics is to provide testing and care for people with mild to moderate symptoms. This is to reduce the risk of further transmission of COVID-19 by diverting people from GP waiting rooms, supporting our GP communities, helping to optimise the use of available stocks of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and reducing the pressure on hospital emergency departments.

Many GP practices across our region are also testing patients with respiratory diseases, so community members are being advised to check first with their usual GP.

Based on information from Murray PHN (13 May 2020 and 23 April 2020) and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services: Getting tested for coronavirus (COVID-19)

Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service

‘…AWAHS are taking some necessary precautions to protect our mob from COVID-19. For example:

  • We are asking you questions about your possible contact with COVID-19
  • Taking all visitors temperatures upon arrival before eFresintering the service
  • Yarning about social distancing and the importance of hand hygiene

‘Now we are stepping it up and taking further measures:

  • GPs will be doing your appointments over the phone from Monday 30/03/2020.
  • We will be suspending oral health therapy from today.
  • Other services (for example, AOD, mental health, counselling support, speech pathology and social work) will also be starting to do phone appointments.

‘Please Note: If our health professional feels you would benefit from coming in to the service this can be arranged.’

Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service Facebook page

Albury Wodonga Health

‘Testing for COVID-19 at the Albury Wodonga Health clinic has been expanded to cover:

  • anyone with a fever or chills in the absence of an alternative diagnosis
  • anyone with an acute respiratory infection characterised by cough, sore throat or shortness of breath.

Testing is also recommended for those with NEW onset of the following clinical symptoms if you are returned from overseas or are a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19, including headache, muscle pain, runny or stuffy nose, loss of the sense of smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.

If you have any of these symptoms, please call your GP or (02) 6058 4444 to arrange an appointment for a test.

ALL patients being tested for COVID-19 should home isolate until test results are available(via Facebook page, 15 April 2020).

For the latest COVID-19 updates from Albury Wodonga Health, please visit their website or Facebook page.

Beechworth Health Service

  • ‘BHS continues to act on all health alert advice from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
  • Please do not attend BHS if you do not need to.
  • BHS continues to implement our pandemic plan in partnerships with regional and state agencies along with key local agencies including Beechworth Surgery, Beechworth Pharmacy and Indigo Shire Council.

If you have concerns about your own health, contact your Doctor.

You may also call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.’

For further information regarding Allied Health/ Club Connection / Volunteer programs, access to facilities, visiting: Acute Unit and Residential Aged Care, and Aged Care—Resident Outings, visit the Beechworth Health Service website—March 24, 2020 Information for Beechworth and surrounding communities coronavirus (COVID-19).

Corryong Health

‘Corryong Health is actively managing the safety risks of the Coronavirus pandemic to the community, to clients, residents and our staff.

The following important changes have been implemented for which we seek your support:

  1. All clients are to phone ahead prior to attending Corryong Health for any reason 02 6076 3200.
  2. You will be instructed to enter one of three entry points: Main Medical Clinic entryway; Kiell Street entrance, or Urgent Care Centre.
  3. All staff, clients and visitors are being screened before entering Corryong Health buildings at all times.’

For further details regarding Residential Aged Care, Acute, Palliative Care, clients over the age of 70 years old, the Health and Fitness Centre, and the Day Activity Centre, visit the Corryong Health websiteCorona Virus Update.

Gateway Health Wodonga

  • Telehealth services extended: ‘Gateway Health has extended its ‘telehealth’ services beyond just its GP Clinics: Allied Health, Children’s Counselling and the Gender Service are also now providing services via phone and video-linked computer for eligible clients, as an alternative to attending on-site. More about telehealth on our website‘ (via Facebook page, 8 April 2020)
  • GP clinic now offers ‘telehealth’ service: ‘Gateway Health GP Clinics are now providing a telehealth service for patients. This means you may be able to consult with your doctor via video-linked computer or by telephone instead of coming in to the clinic. More information on our website(via Facebook page, 2 April 2020).

For the latest COVID-19 updates from Gateway Health, please visit their website or Facebook page.

Indigo North Health

‘Indigo North Health has taken the difficult decision to lock down “Glenview.” This means that we will not be allowing any visitors from 11 am today, 23rd March 2020 until further notice. We will update all families as the situation evolves.’

Indigo North Health Facebook page

Tallangatta Health Service

‘Please be advised that as of this afternoon, Friday 20th March, all visitors are to report to the main reception area and complete a COVID-19 Risk Assessment form. There will be no entry into other areas of the health service, including our Aged Care areas without first presenting at reception at which time staff will help you to access the department/area you require.

If you are visiting after 5pm or during the weekend period please call 6071 5200 from the reception area and staff will assist you.’

For further news relating to Tallangatta Health Service’s response to COVID-19, as well as changes to the Pathology Services, and My Community and Home Care services, visit the Tallangatta Health Service Facebook page.

Walwa Bush Nursing Centre

Walwa Bush Nursing Centre website

Yackandandah Health

‘Just a reminder of the current guidelines for testing for Covid-19. Swabs are limited in supply and more are arriving. People without symptoms should not be tested. Patients who meet at least one clinical criteria and at least one epidemiological criteria should be tested. Call Albury Wodonga Health 02 6058 4444 if you are concerned you may have symptoms.’

For further news regarding the recent delivery of Flu vaccines at the Yackandandah Health Medical Centre, and telehealth, visit the Yackandandah Health Facebook page.

Indigo Shire Council

‘The safety of our communities, customers and employees is our top priority. We are monitoring developments relating to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) daily. Please follow the advice of the Department of Health and Human Services for the most reliable information, updates and advice about the outbreak of COVID-19. If you suspect you have coronavirus, call the Corona Virus Hotline on 1800 675398—open 24 hours, 7 days.’

For information on changes to council services and facilities, visit the Indigo Shire Council website—Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Towong Shire Council

‘We know this is the last thing our community needs, however we ask that you consider the needs of our most vulnerable residents at this time by following the latest advice to help limit the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). You can find the most reliable and current information at www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

…We are continuously monitoring developments and the latest advice from State and Federal Health Departments and will continue to update you regarding any changes to Council services…

Following the latest announcement regarding the closure of non-essential services, Council has implemented a number of changes to help keep our staff and the community safe. We are working on ways to further evolve our services and will keep you updated.’

For information on changes to council services and facilities, visit the Towong Shire Council website—Coronavirus / COVID-19.

Wodonga City Council

‘In line with the precautionary measures being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the council made the decision to not hold any events or venue programs until at least May 31.

The council encourages our community to continue following the advice of DHHS on hygiene and safety practices and to remain informed on the latest details at dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

The situation is changing rapidly and the council will continue to monitor government advice and act promptly as things change. Please monitor this page and our channels to stay updated on any changes to operations…’

For information on the impacts on council operations, visit the Wodonga City Council website—Our response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

Latest information and advice

Department of Health and Human Services (Victorian Government)

The Department of Health and Human Services (Victoria) has an updated webpage with facts about coronavirus (COVID-19), symptoms, updates, resources and advice for the public, health professionals, education services and the media. Please click on the below links for information and advice on the coronavirus:

Download: Self Assessment for risk of coronavirus

Department of Health (Australian Government)

The Department of Health is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. The department is providing daily updates and information, answering questions about the latest news, providing current facts and figures, travel advice, key contact and phone numbers.

For information and advice on the coronavirus, please see the Department of Health section on the Central Hume Primary Care Partnership (Central Hume PCP) website—COVID-19.

World Health Ofrganisation (WHO)

The World Health Organisation is continuously monitoring and responding to the coronavirus outbreak.

For information and advice on the coronavirus, please see the Central Hume PCP website—World Health Organisation.

Murray Primary Health Network (Murray PHN)

To help primary health care providers in our region, Murray Primary Health Network has collated a range of resources, which can be viewed on their website—COVID-19 links. While this information is regularly updated, the most timely advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found on the official government websites.

Prevention

Prevention is so important to slowing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). There have been a number of video resources launched to inform all Australians about COVID-19. The aim of the video resources is to reduce the risk to individuals and families by enabling them to make informed decisions and to take up health recommendations. To access the videos, please visit the Central Hume PCP website—COVID-19.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)—coronavirus (COVID-19)—Latest advice for health workers from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) (updated 18 July 2020). Due to an increased risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19), the PPE Taskforce has updated its advice for all health care workers in Victoria including in regional and rural areas. Health care workers must wear a level 1 or type 1 disposable surgical mask in public-facing areas—particularly where adequate social distancing is not possible. Patients should also wear face masks in these same environments. For further advice on the use of PPE and for implementation information about visitors entering hospitals, please visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.
  • FAQs for community services workers about wearing face masks—Please see the latest face mask advice from the DHHS (updated 24 July 2020). Note:
    • Those working in a stage 2 restricted area (most of regional Victoria) are encouraged to wear a face mask when you leave home or if you can’t maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres from others.
    • Those working in stage 3 restricted areas (metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire) are required to wear a mask for the safety of service users and other staff (exemptions may apply).

Workforce support

  • Download Department of Health and Human Services promotional material for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This includes digital and printable resources. Posters are perfect for displaying in workplaces and community centres.
  • View the Victorian Government’s Health Services Pandemic Plan.
  • Let FairWork give you the facts on Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws.
  • To access a comprehensive list of workforce supports, please visit the Hume Whittlesea Primary Care Partnership (HWPCP) website—COVID-19 Resources.

Working from home

  • For tips and ideas for working from home, please check out these tip sheets on the Outer East Primary Care Partnership (OEPCP) websiteWorking from home, and Working From Home with Kids.
  • Working without wincingWorking from home on a daily basis has become a new normal for many of us during the pandemic. Jean Hailes physiotherapist Amy Steventon offers her advice on making sure you’re perfectly positioned to do it in comfort (8 April 2020).
  • Ergonomics for working from home—one-page fact sheet (Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, updated April 2020).
  • Workplace workouts—A two-page fact sheet with a series of nine easy stretches and exercises to keep stiffness and soreness at bay during your working day. Choose a few to do a few times each day (Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, updated April 2020).
  • Eating well when working from home—one-page fact sheet from Central West Gippsland Primary Care Partnership and partners

Media content

Workplace safety

Online security and web conferencing

  • Cyber security is essential when preparing for COVID-19, (Australian Government’s Stay Smart Online, 13 March 2020). Remote work arrangements can have security implications and cybercriminals may attempt to take advantage of this. The cyber risks of flexible work arrangements could include malware infection, unauthorised access, data security, and insecure devices used by staff. It’s important that businesses and their staff ensure that remote access to business networks is secure so they aren’t vulnerable and business information isn’t exposed.
  • Web Conferencing Security (Australian Cyber Security Centre, 2 April 2020). Web conferencing solutions (also commonly referred to as online collaboration tools) often provide audio/video conferencing, real-time chat, desktop sharing and file transfer capabilities. As we increasingly use web conferencing to keep in touch while working from home, it is important to ensure that this is done securely without introducing unnecessary privacy, security and legal risks. This document provides guidance on both how to select a web conferencing solution and how to use it securely.

  • The reason Zoom calls drain your energyVideo chat is helping us stay employed and connected. But what makes it so tiringand how can we reduce ‘Zoom fatigue’? (BBC Remote Control, 23 April 2020)

Telehealth

Media articles

For healthcare providers

  • Telehealth guidance for practitioners—Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the National Boards have developed information that outlines their expectations of how registered health practitioners will use telehealth in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic (page reviewed 16 April 2020).
  • Healthdirect Video Call—Video Call has been developed by Healthdirect Australia to make it easy for healthcare providers to offer their services via video consultation.

Webinars and training related to COVID-19

Upcoming webinars and training

  • Register for COVID-19 infection control training for health care workers across care settings from the Australian Government Department of Health. This 30-minute online training module is for health care workers in all settings. It covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control for coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care also has e-learning modules on the principles of infection prevention and control in Australian healthcare settings. More information is available on the commission’s website.
  • Primary Care Diabetes Webinar Series—Healthcare professionals are invited to a series of lunchtime webinars organised by the National Association of Diabetes Centres in partnership with the Primary Care Diabetes Society of Australia. Tune in live every Thursday from 12.30 to 1.15 pm. These are free to join and cover a variety of topics and a range of speakers. Certificates will be available as evidence of Continuing Professional Development. Register for upcoming webinars here.

Recorded webinars

  • For webinars relevant to professionals supporting children or young people, please visit our Professionals working with children or young people section.
  • The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) has recorded more than ten COVID-19 Special Edition Webinars—we have provided a list in the Older people section (look under the heading ‘Recorded webinars’). You can access these webinars on OPAN’s website.
  • A Conversation HourUpper Hume Primary Care Partnership has now completed its inaugural season of these weekly online discussions, which brought together people from across the Ovens Murray and beyond to explore ideas that matter. Hosted by Dr Kathleen Brasher, each discussion featured two or more guest speakers with input invited from participants via chat or video/audio. This series began in late April and continued until the end of August 2020, spanning 18 sessions. Visit our ‘A Conversation Hour’ webpage to access the audio recordings of most of the sessions, along with details of resources mentioned in each session. 
  • Vic Health online series: ‘Life and Health Re-imagined’—Held during June and July 2020, this five-part series explored how we can all create a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable community—for everyone. Illustrative summaries, papers and recordings of these online events are available online.
  • Primary Care Diabetes Webinar Series—Webinars on a variety of topics, and featuring a range of speakers, have been held for healthcare professionals since August. This series has been organised by the National Association of Diabetes Centres in partnership with the Primary Care Diabetes Society of Australia. Watch the replay of past webinars here.
  • Free Drought and Wellbeing Webinars: Tune In and Tune Up—Held between June and August 2020, this five-part series of free webinars from Australian Red Cross explored drought and wellbeing. Expert speakers shared their insights to enable participants to better support their communities, themselves and their loved ones in these tough times.
    • Maintaining wellbeing through drought & prolonged stress—Gain a greater understanding of the effects and signs of prolonged stress, the science behind stress and practical ways to maintain wellbeing, and support your community and loved ones. Speaker: Dr David Younger
    • The drought cycle; adaptation and strengthening resilience—Hear about the drought cycle, the cumulative challenges communities often face and key considerations at different stages of the drought cycle. Learn a bit about the psychology around adaptation in the face of this long-term stress and how to strengthen resilience and manage wellbeing through tough times. Speakers: Dr Jacki Schirmer and Dr David Younger
    • Wellbeing after the rains—Hear from the Bureau of Meteorology on winter weather predictions and what rain means for the drought. Hear what the research says about wellbeing when communities are seen to be in drought recovery, strategies to help with things beyond your control and how to make the most of every day. Speakers: Dr Lynette Bettio, Dr Jacki Schirmer and Dr Kate Gunn
    • Family wellbeing in the face of ongoing stress—Hear what the research tells us about adult relationships, family roles and children’s experience through droughts, alongside practical tips on how to support children as well as adult relationships. Speakers: Dr Margaret Alston, Stephanie Schmidt and Dr Margaret Nixon
    • Preparing for tough times—Listen to an introduction on preparedness in the drought space and the importance of preparing the mind for challenging times. The webinar includes tools and tips to support drought resilience and preparedness. Speakers: Dr Jacki Schirmer, Dr Mel Taylor and Shannon McCormack.
  • Resilience webinar series (Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority)—Five free 45-minute webinars on resilience thinking held during May and June 2020. Learn how communities and organisations can prepare and manage change (including shocks and disasters), while creating opportunities for a positive future. Webinar presenter Paul Ryan shares the latest in resilience thinking from across the globe and practical examples from our own backyard. Each webinar session builds on the previous one although you can just watch the sessions that interest you most.

  • Australian Red Cross webinar: Bushfire recovery during COVID-19: Looking after yourself, family, friends and community—Hear disaster expert Dr Rob Gordon talk about how we recover from bushfire while responding to COVID-19. Hear him discuss what to expect in the longer term and answer questions (7 April 2020).
  • COVID-19 update including Albury Wodonga Health—An update from AWH to general practice staff on COVID-19, including the Albury Wodonga Health response (1 April 2020 recording). Presented by Dr Chi Li, Palliative Care Physician; Dr Justin Jackson, Infectious Disease Specialist; and Janet Chapman, Executive Director Regional Partnerships & Planning, Albury Wodonga Health
  • COVID-19 response update for Mental Health Care Practitioners – 1 April—This webinar is part of a series, hosted by Professor Michael Kidd AM, to update primary care workers on the COVID-19 response. Professor Kidd was joined by CEO of the National Mental Health Commission Christine Morgan, and First Assistant Secretary in the Mental Health Division Mr Mark Roddam.

Podcasts

  • Coronacast is a podcast that helps to answer your questions about coronavirus or COVID19. Dr Norman Swan, presenter of the Health Report on ABC Radio National, and science journalist Tegan Taylor break down the latest news and research to help you understand how the world is living through an epidemic. Podcasts are about 10 minutes in length. Listen for free via the ABC website or subscribe to Coronacast in your favourite podcast app.
  • Western Health, which provides services to the western region of Melbourne, has been producing two podcast series:
    • The Unifying Call—Inspiring courage and kindness in the face of COVID. Courage, leadership and clinical expertise are needed more than ever in the fight against COVID-19. This podcast shares the stories and voices of Western Health hospital clinicians and leaders as they strive to combat the pandemic in our major hospitals.
    • Kindness Matters—Reflections on connection, compassion and friendship. Connection to our work, colleagues, family and friends is more important than ever. In this podcast, hear personal reflections from the people at Western Health as they navigate working in the demanding hospital environment. You’ll also hear the voices of the important people in their lives outside work.

Financial assistance and economic response

  • Australian Government Services Australia—Information and services to help you if you’re affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) or looking for more details. People affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) can register their intention to claim a Centrelink payment or find out about financial assistance.
  • Household Relief Loans Without Interest are available for anyone financially impacted by COVID-19. In collaboration with the Australian Government, Good Shepherd is providing No Interest Loans of up to $3000 towards rent and utilities, repayable over 24 months. Fill in their short 2-minute eligibility check online and, if you’re eligible, call 1300 121 130.

Support for Victorians

  • The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Test Isolation Payment has been increased to $450. This financial support is for Victorian workers, including parents and guardians, who are required to self-isolate while waiting for the results of a coronavirus (COVID-19) test. For more information and to apply online, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website. For support to apply for the payment, call  1800 675 398 and select option 8.
  • The $1500 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker Support Payment is now offered through the Commonwealth Government’s Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment for Victoria. Go to Services Australia for information on how to claim. This financial support is for Victorians who can’t earn an income because they must self-isolate or quarantine at home or they are caring for someone with COVID-19. You can claim this payment by calling Services Australia on 180 22 66.
  • Working for Victoria—The Working for Victoria initiative helps Victorians, including people who have lost their jobs due to the economic impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19), find new work opportunities. Some of these roles will provide vital contributions to our state’s response to the pandemic. You can register if you are looking for work, are a clinical healthcare worker looking for work, are a business looking for workers, or are looking for training.
  • The Victorian Government has established an economic survival package to support Victorian businesses and workers through the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic—download the fact sheet.

Commonwealth Government

The Commonwealth Government has announced its Economic Response to the Coronavirus. Two of the targeted areas are Supporting Individuals and Households, and Support for Businesses.

Community resilience and recovery

Media articles

Evidence and research

  • COVID-19 Research—Find COVID-19 studies in Australia or around the world via the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce. This taskforce brings together the peak health professional bodies across Australia whose members are providing clinical care to people with COVID-19. They are undertaking continuous evidence surveillance to identify and rapidly synthesise emerging research in order to provide national, evidence-based guidelines for the clinical care of people with COVID-19. The guidelines address questions that are specific to managing COVID-19 and cover the full disease course across mild, moderate, severe and critical illness. These are ‘living’ guidelines, updated with new research in near real-time in order to give reliable, up-to-the minute advice to clinicians providing frontline care.
  • Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation (ANMF) Evidence Briefs provide the best available evidence on a range of topics related to COVID-19 including Personal Protective Equipment, and Protecting Healthcare Workers from Infection.
  • To access early research and an Editorial from the Health Promotion Journal of Australia, please visit the HWPCP website—COVID-19 Resources.

People with existing health conditions

  • Experts worried people delaying medical tests due to coronavirus will create ‘tidal wave’ of diagnoses (ABC News, 14 May 2020)
  • Media release from Deakin University, 12 May 2020: Reluctant Australians should seek health care now as COVID-19 restrictions ease
  • Media release from Greg Hunt MP, 8 April 2020: ‘Looking after people with existing health conditions during COVID-19‘. Key messages:
    • If you have a chronic health condition, continue to see your GP or specialist about the management of your condition.
    • If you have a regular follow-up appointment booked with your doctor, please contact your medical practice to see if this can be carried out using a telehealth consultation or if you need to see your doctor for a face-to-face consultation.
    • If you are taking regular medication for management of a chronic condition, continue to take your medication.
    • PBS medicines can now be delivered to your home from your community pharmacy of your choice through the Australian Government “COVID-19 Home Medicines Service” at no additional cost.
    • Consider getting your flu vaccine over the coming weeks to protect you against the flu. April and May is the best time to get a flu vaccine—contact your doctor or community pharmacy to book an appointment.
    • If you have regular blood tests as part of the management of your chronic health condition, please continue to have your blood tests done.

Specific health conditions

  • For COVID-19 information regarding diabetes, heart disease, dementia, asthma, arthritis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and cancer, please visit the HWPCP website—COVID-19 Resources.
  • For information and support in relation to dementia, please see our section on Older people.

Mothers, pregnancy and babies

For messages from peak bodies, articles and audio information, please visit the HWPCP website—COVID-19 Resources.

Children

Information and support

With all the communications about COVID-19, it’s important to consider the impact on children who have already had a confusing and traumatic start to 2020. These are some great resources to use to explain and discuss with children and to share with parents.

Numerous children’s books have been published to teach children about coronavirus and encourage them to protect themselves and others. Many have been written and illustrated in collaboration between public health organisations, doctors and storytellers. These books explore practical ways young children can avoid infection and transmission, and provide strategies parents can use to help children cope with anxiety. The best of these books address children not just as people who might fall ill, but as active agents in the fight against COVID-19. Check out the top picks in this article in the Conversation (26 May 2020): P is for Pandemic: kids’ books about coronavirus.

For a frequently updated list of children’s books on the pandemic, visit the New York School Library System’s COVID-19 page.

Kids Helpline is open to answer calls, emails or WebChat from kids, teens and young adults as well as parents and schools. Phone 1800 55 1800. Online resources include:

Fun and education, and creative expression

Check out some great options:

  • For some of the best music, entertainment, nature and art Victoria has to offer—online, visit Victoria Together. Categories include Children, Music, Sport and exercise, Older Victorians, Regional communities, Wellbeing, Food and drink, Film and cinema, Arts, exhibitions and design, Games, Comedy, Theatre and dance, and Science and nature.
  • For performances, podcasts, books and stories via apps and online hubs, online book readings by authors of children’s books, and online educational fun, see our Fun and Education section
  • Interested in visual art and music? See our Creative expression section.

For tips and ideas for at home, please check out these tip sheets on the OEPCP websiteSchool Holiday Checklist, and School Holidays with the kids.

Young people

Information

With COVID-19 creating feelings of uncertainty within the community, supporting young people in challenging times such as these is crucial. Online resources include:

Digital tools for young people

  • eheadspace—Free online support and counselling to young people aged 12–25 and their families and friends. Connect with a clinician one-on-one. (Note: Due to COVID-19 their services are via chat and email rather than phone.) Use their messenger app to chat live with a clinician, or email a clinician.

  • Bite Back—Online space to help young people build resilience in an interactive environment. Encourage your young person to take the six-week Mental Fitness Challenge to reduce stress, improve focus and expand potential (Black Dog Institute)

  • iBobbly—Free app to build good mental health and wellbeing in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Headspace—Self-guided meditation app

Support services

Young people who feel stressed, worried or anxious can make contact with the following services:

  • headspace Albury Wodonga will now be delivering individual services to young people (aged 12 to 25) via phone and online options, such as video conferencing, rather than in person—phone (02) 6055 9555.
  • Kids Helpline is open to answer calls, emails or WebChat from kids, teens and young adults as well as parents and schools. Phone 1800 55 1800.

Fun and education, and creative expression

Bored? Need some light relief? Check out some great options:

Parents and carers

The focus of this section is on how to talk to kids about coronavirus and guide your family through it. For guidance and support on remote learning, please visit our section on Remote learning

  • Coronavirus: Reassuring your children about the unknown—Dr Aliza Werner-Seidler, Senior Research Fellow and Clinical Psychologist at Black Dog Institute, shares some helpful tips and strategies to reduce COVID-19 related anxiety in children and explains how to support their wellbeing during this time.

Professionals working with children or young people

  • For guidance and support on remote learning, please visit our section on Remote learning
  • For webinars relevant to professionals working with children or young people, please visit our Webinars section.
  • Coronavirus resources for schools & young people (Black Dog Institute)

  • Training and resources for clinicians responding to the COVID-19 outbreak—Learn more about topics such as anxiety and e-health from Orygen, the world’s leading youth mental health research and knowledge translation organisation

  • The What’s Okay at Home website is a resource for children and young people, and their adult allies, to help understand what family violence is, why it happens, how to recognise it and stay safe, and how to help others who are experiencing it. The website includes a tool that young people can use to develop their own safety plan.

Recorded webinars

  • Orygen: Harnessing digital technology to improve youth mental health care—Presented by Orygen and co-hosted with the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria, the webinar provides insights into the evidence behind digital mental health technologies, ways consumers and youth mental health workers can navigate and use existing technologies, and an overview of the recently announced Orygen Digital platforms (17 July 2020).
  • Mental Health Professionals’ Network: Working with children and families during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak—Free practitioner webinar featuring an interdisciplinary panel of experts. Facilitated by Professor Stephen Trumble, the panel discussion explores and identifies challenges and treatment opportunities for children and families during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak (30 April 2020).
  • Australian Red Cross webinar: Supporting children and young people to recover from disasters—Children and young people experience disasters differently and many parents and carers worry about how to support them as they recover. Psychologist Lyn Page talks about how people can support children and young people as they recover from the bushfires while also responding to COVID-19 (20-22 April 2020).

Women

Recent articles on the gendered impact of the COVID-19 outbreak:

Gender & Disaster Pod (GAD Pod) was established to promote an understanding of the role played by gender in survivor responses to natural disaster, and to embed these insights into emergency management practice. It is an initiative of Women’s Health Goulburn North East and Women’s Health In the North—in partnership with the Monash University Disaster Resilience Initiative.

Older people

Information and support

  • New hotline for older Australians during COVID-19 pandemic launched—A new COVID-19 hotline will help older Australians get the critical information they need to stay healthy and safe during the pandemic, providing an accessible one-stop source for personal support, questions and up-to-date guidelines. Older people and carers are encouraged to call 1800 171 866 to speak to specially trained staff from a senior’s advocacy organisation.

  • Conversations with older Victorians—Families and caregivers of older people should discuss news of coronavirus (COVID-19) in an open and honest way. Visit this webpage for some practical things you can do.

  • Information sheet: Mental health and coronavirus (COVID-19) information for seniors (Victorian Department of Health and Human Services)
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for older Australians—This Fact Sheet is for the information and advice of older Australians. It outlines the COVID-19 facts and the measures you, your family and friends can take to protect older Australians (Australian Government Department of Health).
  • Protecting our elderly—Information and resources for Coronavirus from Head to Health

  • Restricting access to care facilities – frequently asked questions—The Chief Health Officer is restricting access to facilities where vulnerable Victorians live and receive care. People who live in these care facilities are especially vulnerable to the transmission of coronavirus, and may be critically at risk if exposed. For answers to frequently asked questions, see this Department of Health and Human Services page (updated 13 April 2020).

Information and support: Dementia

Digital tools for older people

  • eSafety’s Be Connected website has great resources designed to help older Australians develop digital and online skills

Recorded webinars

  • The Older Persons Advocacy Network has recorded more than ten COVID-19 Special Edition Webinars. See their website for free webinars on the following topics:
    • Keeping Well at Home During COVID-19 (16 September 2020)
    • COVID-19: Things to consider if you’re thinking about moving out of an aged care home (19 August 2020)

    • Home Care support for older people & their carers during COVID-19 (5 August 2020)

    • Caring for people with dementia during COVID-19 restrictions (22 July 2020)
    • COVID-19: Getting back into your community safely (13 July 2020)
    • Homelessness and Aged Care during COVID-19 (8 July 2020)
    • Culturally Safe & Informed Aged Care Support During COVID-19 (24 June 2020)

    • Community Visitors Scheme & Social Connection during COVID-19 (10 June 2020)
    • Navigating Aged Care Services During COVID-19 (13 May 2020)

    • Reducing the risk of abuse for older people during COVID-19 (7 May 2020)
    • Family, carers, visitations and wellbeing during COVID-19 (29 April 2020)
    • Living with dementia during COVID-19 and how we all can help (21 April 2020)
    • Safely receiving aged care services at home during COVID-19 (8 April 2020)
    • COVID-19 and what it means for people in Aged Care (Session 2: 1 April 2020; Session 1: 25 March 2020)

Emotional and physical wellbeing

  • The Wellbeing Plus Course helps adults aged 60 years and over learn to manage mild, moderate and severe symptoms of depression and anxiety. Offered online by MindSpot, the course was funded by a grant from beyondblue.
  • Check out the free exercise classes being uploaded by Active Seniors Health Centre during this period of isolation. These classes go for 15-30 minutes and focus on balance, mobility, strength or aerobic fitness. Options include:
    • joining them daily on Facebook for their Facebook Live class
    • checking out their previous live-streamed class videos on their Facebook Videos page or visit their website

Fun and education

  • For some of the best music, entertainment, nature and art Victoria has to offer—online, visit Victoria Together. Categories include Children, Music, Sport and exercise, Older Victorians, Regional communities, Wellbeing, Food and drink, Film and cinema, Arts, exhibitions and design, Games, Comedy, Theatre and dance, and Science and nature.
  • See the section below on Fun and Education with suggestions including the performing arts, books and stories via apps and online hubs, and online educational fun.

People who identify as LGBTIQ

  • Rainbow Door is a free specialist LGBTIQA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Gender Diverse, Intersex, Queer, Asexual, BrotherBoys, SisterGirls) helpline providing information, support and referral to all LGBTIQA+ Victorians, their friends and family during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. Newly launched, this service is run by Switchboard Victoria.
    • The service is free and available to ALL Victorians regardless of visa status. Phone 1800 729 367 or text 0480 017 246 via free call and text (10 am – 6 pm every day). Email: [email protected]
    • All staff in the Rainbow Door are experienced specialist workers with case management, suicide intervention and risk assessment skills. They can provide Family Violence risk assessment and safety planning, assist with access to LGBTIQA+ friendly services and connection to advocacy or advice in relation to mental health, disability, relationship or support for older people.
    • Rainbow Door is offering support in languages other than English, including Auslan, through their interpreter service. To access in-language support, callers can ring 1800 729 367, tell Rainbow Door the language they speak and they will be connected to the interpreter service.
  • For information and services for professionals and community, please visit the HWPCP website—COVID-19 Resources.

People with disabilities

  • COVID-19 Resources: Easy English—Resources for people who do not have functional literacy. Topic areas: General information, Be safe, New rules for Australia, and Other services now. Download as accessible Word documents or PDF documents (Access Easy English)
  • Individuals with autism, their parents/carers and families can access autism-specific resources, tools and credible information, including social stories, videos and articles, in one place—Autism and Coronavirus (COVID-19)… The Essentials (Autism Awareness Australia).
  • For disability-focused information, updates and resources, please visit the HWPCP website—COVID-19 Resources.

Culturally and linguistically diverse communities

COVID-19 translated information has been developed for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, health professionals and industry. Information includes factsheets and promotional materials.

Emergency relief

Emergency relief is to help people meet their basic needs, like food, medicine or shelter.

  • Emergency relief support for people on temporary visas (Australian Red Cross)—Financial relief to meet urgent needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Australian Red Cross has received Government funding specifically to support people who are on temporary visas with a small one-off emergency relief payment. The support is offered to people in Australia with urgent needs who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents and have a need, such as a utility bill or medical expenses, and are unable to meet that need.
  • Emergency relief support – Victoria (Australian Red Cross)—Financial relief, including Extreme Hardship Support Program, to meet urgent needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The support is targeted to the most vulnerable temporary and provisional visa holders and undocumented migrants. Depending on individual need, up to three small emergency relief payments can be made per person or family over the next six months.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Support services

  • Yarning SafeNStrong—Free 24/7 phone counselling for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) families launched by the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service. ATSI people and families who need to have a yarn with someone about their wellbeing can call this free confidential phone crisis line now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1800 959 563 to safely talk to a counsellor who ‘gets it’, and can refer callers to supports.
  • Dardi Munwurro Aboriginal Men’s Crisis Support Line—In this time of unrest and uncertainty, Dardi Munwurro is offering 24/7 support via telephone for Aboriginal men in Victoria—download flyer

Media articles

Social connection

This section contains ideas and information to support your community—and particularly vulnerable and isolated people—during the COVID-19 crisis.

Help your neighbour cards

  • ‘Help your neighbour’ cards—City of Wodonga and AlburyCity have developed free assets for you to use to share the message that kindness is catching. One of the most-utilised assets is the ‘help your neighbour’ cards to assist the vulnerable and isolated or those having difficulties coping in our community. These cards can also be picked up at some chemists and coffee shops across the Border.
  • Connection Cards to help you #StayConnected—If you’re feeling well and able to support someone, practically or emotionally, you can use R U OK?’s ‘Connection Cards’ to let them know you’re there to help now and for as long as they need. You can download editable versions. Inspired by the ‘Creative Commons’ #ViralKindness card by Becky Wass.

Telephone chat programs

  • Indigo Calling telephone chat program—Beechworth Health Service (BHS) has trained volunteers who can provide a regular friendly phone chat at an agreed time to help people stay connected. Volunteer callers are matched with community members based on their interests and hobbies. Volunteers have completed training, a criminal record check and are registered volunteers of BHS. To sign up, talk to the Volunteer Coordinator Marianne Thompson; phone (03) 57 280 200 or email [email protected]

    Connection cards

  • My Community And Home Care—Tallangatta Health Service requires Community Buddy volunteers. Do you have time to make phone contact with an older person living in the community and provide reassurance to them and help them access information about services? Some older people may be feeling isolated and forgotten and by providing a welfare check you may be able to address any of their uncertainties and fears. If you have an hour or less to spare per week, please contact Maralee, Community Services Manager on (02) 6071 5254.
  • The Hello Project—Launched by the Rural City of Wangaratta and Gateway Health, the Hello Project is designed to bring people together through a friendly phone call from a Council or Gateway Health staff member/volunteer. Register here if you’d like to talk to someone.

Establishing online and learning digital literacy skills

With elderly people vulnerable to becoming isolated during this time, getting established online is a good way to stay connected and access services while minimising exposure and spread of COVID-19. If you know an older Australian who might need assistance in getting established online and learning digital literacy skills, check out:

Global community-support activities

  • 7 Beautiful Moments of Solidarity Against Coronavirus—Global Citizen, 18 March 2020. Read about various community-support activities such as singing from apartment windows, messages of support shared around communities, and therapists stepping up online suppport.
  • One World: Together At Home—a global broadcast and digital special to support frontline healthcare workers and the World Health Organization (WHO). Curated in collaboration with Lady Gaga, it featured a lineup of some of the world’s best artists including Paul McCartney, Elton John, Eddie Vedder, Keith Urban, Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli and Lady Gaga. The special ran in two parts: a global six-hour digital livestream event, and a two-hour broadcast (main show). Visit Global Citizen’s YouTube channel to watch videos of individual performances, or cast it to your TV for non-stop viewing. To stream the music through a device, check out the Spotify playlist (4 hours+).
  • Together At Home is a virtual event series launched in March by Global Citizen, the World Health Organization and a collection of artists. The series aims to ease people’s minds, and bring them joy and a sense of shared humanity as public shutdowns and social distancing take effect globally, leaving some people feeling lonely, anxious and depressed. It also offers Global Citizens a chance to take action to help stop the spread of COVID-19 around the world. Watch videos of virtual performances by artists including Chris Martin, Charlie Puth, Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, Guy Sebastian and Meghan Trainor on Global Citizen’s YouTube channel.

Keeping healthy and coronavirus FAQs

Eating well

A series of one-page fact sheets supporting eating well and food security during COVID-19 have been developed by Central West Gippsland Primary Care Partnership and partners including:

Boosting our immune system

  • 5 ways nutrition could help your immune system fight off the coronavirusNone of us can completely eliminate our risk of getting COVID-19 but one thing we can do is eat as healthily as possible. If we do catch COVID-19, our immune system is responsible for fighting it. Research shows improving nutrition helps support optimal immune function. Micronutrients essential to fight infection include vitamins A, B, C, D and E, and the minerals iron, selenium, and zinc. Find out about how these nutrients support our immune system and the foods we can eat to get them in this article by Professor Clare Collins, Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Newcastle (The Conversation, 17 March 2020).
  • Seven evidence-based ways you can help your body (and your family) protect itself from coronavirus—In this 21-minute episode of ABC Life Matters, broadcast on 9 April 2020, Hilary Harper talks to Professor Peter Brukner, medical doctor and Professor of sports medicine at Latrobe University in Melbourne, and Professor Clare Collins, Professor in Nutrition and CoronacastDietetics at the University of Newcastle. There is lots of evidence that the stronger your immune system, the better your body will be at fighting off coronavirus. So what should we focus on to boost ours and our family’s immune systems as soon as possible? Peter’s top two things to tackle for best immune health are diet and exercise. The five others on his list are stress, sleep, smoking, alcohol and sun.

More information on keeping healthy and coronavirus FAQs, including podcasts, articles, videos and tip sheets, are found on the HWPCP website—COVID-19 Resources.

Keeping active

  • Victoria Together—Check out these online offerings to help you stay active—see the ‘Sport and exercise’ category.
  • Find your 30—Especially for parents, carers and kids—find your 30 minutes of physical activity with daily challenges to do at home (SportAus, AIS).
  • Adult ballet classes at home—Learn ballet for free with the Australian Ballet. Three levels are available: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Each class is 30-40 minutes long. Classes are available for a limited time only.
  • PE with Joe—daily home workouts on YouTube aimed at kids featuring online nutrition coach Joe Wicks.
  • The Fitness Marshall—high-intensity, fun cardio dance workouts on YouTube designed for everyone with a focus on inclusion, featuring Caleb Marshall, also known as ‘The Fitness Marshall’
  • Zumba with Charli—Live classes with local zumba extraordinaire Charli every Wednesday at 6.30 pm on the Zumba with Charli members’ only Facebook group. New classes loaded every week for unlimited access along with dance tips and 30-minute sessions for those busy days! All for only $13 ($11 for class cards) per week!
  • Keeping active at home—tip sheet on OEPCP website

Fun and education

  • For some of the best music, entertainment, nature and art Victoria has to offer—online, visit Victoria Together. Categories include Children, Music, Sport and exercise, Older Victorians, Regional communities, Wellbeing, Food and drink, Film and cinema, Arts, exhibitions and design, Games, Comedy, Theatre and dance, and Science and nature.
  • For tips and ideas for at home during the school holidays, please check out these tip sheets on the OEPCP websiteSchool Holiday Checklist, and School Holidays with the kids.

Performing Arts

  • Music From The Home Front: An Anzac Day concert for the fight against COVID-19 (25 April 2020). The concert featured Australian and New Zealand musicians such as Crowded House, Delta Goodrem, Guy Sebastian, Jon Stevens, Kate Ceberano, Missy Higgins and Paul Kelly—watch individual performances or the live stream (3 hours+) on YouTube.
  • One World: Together At Home—a global broadcast and digital special featuring a lineup of some of the world’s best artists to support frontline healthcare workers and the World Health Organization (WHO). Visit Global Citizen’s YouTube channel to watch videos of individual performances, or cast it to your TV for non-stop viewing. To stream the music through a device, check out the Spotify playlist (4 hours+).
  • Together At Home is a virtual event series launched in March by Global Citizen, the World Health Organization and a collection of artists. Watch virtual performances by artists including Chris Martin, Charlie Puth, Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, Guy Sebastian and Meghan Trainor on Global Citizen’s YouTube channel.
  • Arts Centre Melbourne has curated a list of their top 5 family experiences created by their friends and collaborators: JUNK by our local Flying Fruit Fly Circus, Teeny Tiny Stevies, Polyglot Theatre, The Listies, and Audioplay: The Turners
  • Arts Centre Melbourne’s Big Night In with John Foreman—A new virtual musical entertainment show featuring Aussie artists and musicians. Tune in to YouTube for the debut show on Wednesday 29 April at 7 pm to see John Foreman catch up with guests including Casey Donovan, the sister duo Vika and Linda Bull, and the Aussie Pops Orchestra
  • LOL Squad sketches—A series of new sketches created by the latest LOL Squad, a team of young comedians aged 14-18, handpicked from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Class Clowns program.

Podcasts

Books and stories via apps and online hubs

  • Audible—kids can stream a collection of stories, including titles across six different languages. All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet. Explore the collection, select a title and start listening.
  • Epic—digital library of books, learning videos and quizzes for kids 12 and under (see current offers for parents and teachers)
  • BorrowBox—Borrow eBooks and eAudiobooks free from your library using the BorrowBox app. You will need to join your local public library and intall the BorrowBox app on your device.

Online book readings and activities from authors of children’s books

  • David Walliams is releasing a free daily audio story on Elevenses with The World of David Walliams
  • Julia Donaldson is making a weekly broadcast of  ‘Julia Donaldson and Friends’ via Facebook
  • Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler Home Learning Packs—If your child is a fan of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s picture books, you can download a range of home learning activity packs to complete as your read the books. To gain free access, go online and make an account.
  • Harry Potter at Home hub—launched by J.K. Rowling for parents, teachers and carers working to keep children amused and interested while at home. Includes contributions from Bloomsbury and Scholastic, magical craft videos, fun articles, quizzes and puzzles
  • Dav Pilkey At Home—get creative and have fun with characters from Dog Man and Captain Underpants. Check back every Friday to discover new activities, videos and more.

  • Our own local Captain Pete will be posting tidbits of his Captain Pete songs and stories from his Mudpoo books on his Facebook page

Online educational fun

  • Virtual entertainment and resources while you stay in—With venues closed and while we’re all staying in and isolating, ABC Radio has put together a list of free resources and activities that our various arts and cultural organisations in Victoria are doing to continue to engage and connect with their audiences and communities.
  • Taronga TV—tune in daily to see your favourite animals at Taronga Zoo (Sydney and Dubbo zoos) via 24/7 live-streaming cameras, hear from the keepers, see the latest shows and animal feeds, and learn what goes on behind the scenes at Taronga.
  • Zoos Victoria—live stream cameras from Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo
  • All the times and places you can find zoos live streaming to keep your kids educated (Canberra Times)
  • Museum at Home is a new project from Museums Victoria enabling the community to connect, explore and learn more from their favourite museums every day.
  • Street View: Tour famous sites and landmarks (Google Arts & Culture)—Step inside must-see museums around the world; go behind-the-scenes in key sporting locations; explore iconic monuments from every angle (e.g. Taj Mahal); follow in the footsteps of culture; see where art takes to the streets; step into history; go behind-the-scenes of science

  • Virtual holidays: How to travel the world while you’re stuck at home (Escape.com.au)—Virtual tours: Museums launch online tours during coronavirus pandemic
  • Check out this range of online options for young and old alike, ranging from museums to galleries to zoos, on the HWPCP website—COVID-19 Resources.

Remote learning

Children and teenagers

  • ABC TV Education—ABC ME (channel 23) is showing educational programming from 10 am to 3 pm every weekday for Term 2. Each weekday will start with content for Lower Primary students from about 10 to 11 am (suitable for Prep to Year 2 although depending on your child’s age and abilities they may benefit from some of the Upper Primary programs too). Primary and Lower Secondary level content will continue from about 11 am to 1 pm. Programming then progresses up to Secondary level content in the afternoons. You can catch up on iview, or stay in the loop by signing up to the ABC Education weekly newsletter or following ABC Education on Facebook.
  • Science at Home with Steve Spangler—easy science experiments you can do at home. Search for safe, easy experiments and cool science videos to share with friends and family—an introduction to over 1500 videos from their educational YouTube channels.

Parents, carers and educators

  • How to home school—Coronavirus has meant parents across Australia have had to slip into a roleParental as Anything they never signed up for—being a teacher. So how do you make that work if you haven’t the first clue about teaching? In this 21-minute ABC podcast of Parental as Anything (14 April 2020), parenting author and educator Maggie Dent talks to educator Dr Prue Salter about how to support high-schoolers as they learn from home. Maggie also shares her top tips for keeping primary school kids engaged while learning from home, and how to stop parents from pulling their hair out.
  • Maggie Dent’s tips for supporting learning at home—Parents across Australia have had to slip into a role they never signed up for—supervising their children’s schooling from home. How do you make that work if you haven’t the first clue about teaching? In this four-minute Facebook video (16 April 2020), Maggie Dent has some tips that might help.
  • Students won’t get through all school content while learning at home: here are 3 things to prioritise—In this article, Alison Willis, who researches children’s learning in conflict-affected contexts, advises ‘…the best thing you can do is believe in your children, and help them maintain their love of learning, as well as their basic literacy, numeracy and social skills.’ Tips include getting your kids to read, building their maths stamina, and building social skills into their daily routine (The Conversation, 19 April 2020).
  • Content for educators working through the COVID-19 crisis—As many early education settings around the country remain operating—for now—through the COVID-19 crisis, ABC Kids Early Education has compiled an ABC resource catalogue. This collection will help early educators talk about the virus with children and families, assist with programming ideas, and provide early education ideas for families seeking guidance while staying at home.

Protecting yourself online

  • Widespread reports of COVID-19 malicious scams being sent to Australians (Australian Government’s Stay Smart Online, 27 March 2020). The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is aware of a significant increase in Australians being targeted with COVID-19 related scams and phishing emails. These scams are likely to increase over the coming weeks and months and the ACSC strongly encourages organisations and individuals to remain alert. Visit this page to see some examples of what to look out for now.

Creative expression

Visual art

  • For a little inspiration for art activities and learning resources that children can do from home, join the new MAMA Kids group on Facebook to receive their top picks from across the Internet, as well as MAMA original videos and resources. Be a part of this creative community, where they’ll be sharing resources suitable for preschool to primary school aged children.
  • Together In Art Kids—The Art Gallery of NSW invited budding artists between the ages of 5 and 12 to submit an artwork for Together In Art Kids 2020 online art exhibition. While the date of submission has passed, a curated selection of artworks from this project will be exhibited online from 18 May 2020. A collaboration between the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the ABC, the project was the brainchild of ABC health expert and Coronacast podcast host Dr Norman Swan.
  • Dav Pilkey At Home—get creative and have fun with characters from Dog Man and Captain Underpants. Check back every Friday to discover new activities, videos and more.

Music

  • Chrome Music Lab is a website that makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments. Check out the Song Maker experiment, which lets you make and share your own songs.
  • Triple j Unearthed’s DIY Supergroup competition—Want to make music with Tame Impala, Flume, Tash Sultana, The Jungle Giants, Middle Kids, Amy Shark, Tkay Maidza and/or G Flip? Meet triple j Unearthed’s DIY Supergroup—each of these talented musicians have generously offered up samples and loops for you to use in your own song. Competition closes 17 May 2020.

Mental health and emotional wellbeing

It’s important to look after your mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic—take a look at the coronavirus mental health webpage on the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website. This page contains some important and helpful advice from Beyond Blue, clinical psychologist Dr Michelle Lim and Lifeline Australia.

Ways to look after your mental health amid the coronavirus pandemic—The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on all facets of society. It’s crucial that people take a practical approach to dealing with COVID-19. Beyond Blue suggests a number of different ways that people can manage their wellbeing:

  • Try to maintain perspective.
  • Find a healthy balance in relation to media coverage.
  • Try to maintain a practical and calm approach.
  • Try not to make assumptions.
  • Seek support.

In relation to media coverage, being exposed to large volumes of negative information can heighten feelings of anxiety. While it’s important to stay informed, you may find it useful to limit your media intake if it is upsetting you or your family. Another option is to read good news only—check out ABC’s Good News articles.

A number of mental health supports are accessible via the following helplines or websites:

  • HeadtoHelpfree mental health and wellbeing support (no referral required) from mental health clinicians—call 1800 595 212, 8.30 am and 5 pm (Mon–Fri). There are 15 HeadtoHelp hubs across Victoria and callers will be directed to their closest hub, or the closest appropriate service. In the Murray PHN region, HeadtoHelp hubs are provided by Bendigo Community Health Services, and Gateway Health in Wodonga.  
  • Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service—Beyond Blue’s 24/7 helpline is now available if you need to speak to a mental health professional briefed on the pandemic response—call 1800 512 348. Connect with others, share your experiences and exchange messages of support on Beyond Blue’s dedicated online community forum: Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak. Visit the support service online to access information, advice and strategies to help you manage your mental wellbeing and support those around you during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Mental health and COVID-19—Head to Health is providing trusted information and digital supports to help support mental health and wellbeing during this pandemic. This page covers where to get the facts about the COVID-19 outbreak, tips for maintaining good mental health, information on how to access mental health services (including digital mental health services), information for parents, and how to keep older Australians safe and connected by helping them get established online.

  • Managing Your Mental Health Online During COVID-19—e-mental health fact sheet from eMHPrac (e-Mental Health in Practice). There are many services that can help without leaving home. During this crisis, Australians can use Medicare to talk to health practitioners about mental health. There are also other ways to get help on a phone, computer or tablet. These include crisis and counselling services, and mental health treatments that have been converted into web programs or apps. Some services link users to a practitioner who acts as a coach or guide and tracks their progress as they use a web program. Others—’self-guided’ ones—are for people who prefer to work on their own. Most of these programs and services are free, and are listed in this fact sheet.
  • Health & Wellbeing—Tip sheet on OEPCP website
  • HWPCP website—See Mental Health & Emotional Wellbeing
  • Central Hume PCP website—see Mental Wellbeing

Digital tools for creating a positive change in your wellbeing

  • Online community forum: Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak (Beyond Blue)—Connect with others, share your experiences and exchange messages of support on this dedicated online forum: Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak.
  • myCompass—An evidence-based self-help tool for people experiencing mild to moderate stress, depression and anxiety. Clinically proven to reduce symptoms and improve wellbeing (Black Dog Institute).
  • This Way Up online courses on stress, anxiety and depression are being made free during the COVID-19 crisis by Sydney’s Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression (CRUfAD), a joint project of St Vincent’s Hospital and the University of NSW.

Health professional resources

Health professionals can visit the Black Dog Institute online for evidence-based resources to assist with diagnosis, treatment and capacity building:

  • e-Mental Health in Practice is a suite of online training modules, webinars and e-resources designed to introduce health professionals to online programs and tools, and to demonstrate how e-mental health technologies can be integrated into primary care.

  • Fact sheets cover a range of topics from depression to e-mental health and are freely available to download as PDFs.
  • The Being Well podcast series share a personal lived experience of mental health. The podcasts each tackle an important mental health topic and provide insight and expert knowledge from and for health professionals.

Alcohol and other drugs

The article, Coronavirus: it’s tempting to drink your worries away but there are healthier ways to manage stress and keep your drinking in check, was published in The Conversation on 27 March 2020. Key points:

  • In these difficult times, it’s not surprising some people are looking to alcohol for a little stress reduction. But there are healthier ways of coping with the challenges we currently face.
  • When we drink more, alcohol affects our ability to fight disease, our mood, our sleep, and our thoughts and feelings.
  • An increase in drinking also risks unnecessarily tying up emergency services and hospitals, which are needed to respond to the coronavirus.

Check out this article for tips on how to manage your alcohol consumption, and how to manage stress without alcohol.

Support

Loss and grief

That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief—Interview with David Kessler, co-author of On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Kessler shares his thoughts on why it’s important to acknowledge the grief you may be feeling, how to manage it, and how he believes we will find meaning in it (Harvard Business Review, 23 March 2020)

Information, resources and articles about dealing with loss and grief can be found on the HWPCP website—COVID-19 Resources.

Family violence

With more people staying at home to reduce the community spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), there may be an increased risk for women and children experiencing family violence or abuse.

Local media campaign: ‘Domestic Violence—there is no excuse’

There is a range of local support services to assist with domestic violence, so speak up when you are safe, step in if you’re aware, get help if you’re responsible.

Protecting our community remains a top priority during the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency. Family violence frontline services, including crisis accommodation, police and courts, continue to operate to support women, children, men and families during the coronavirus emergency.

All Family Violence support services are available by phone and the police response remains unchanged.

Call 000 for Police and Ambulance help if you are in immediate danger.

If you or someone you know is experiencing violence and need help or support, please contact one of the support hotline numbers on the AlburyCity website.

Local services and programs

If you’re experiencing domestic violence in NSW or Victoria, there are services available to help you:

Family violence support services

For family violence crisis response and support during coronavirus, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website. Here you can access the latest updates, the current family violence service status for Victoria, and family violence support services. There is also information for those feeling unsafe or needing advice, on staying connected and having a safety plan, and elder abuse.

The UHPCP has a dedicated COVID-19 and family violence page. Here you can find statements from peak organisations on COVID-19 and family violence, links to services, and help and advice for survivors; family, friends and neighbours; and family violence professionals.

Emergency relief

  • For emergency relief for temporary and provisional visa holders and undocumented migrants, or international students, please also visit the Culturally and linguistically diverse communities section.
  • Red Cross Emergency Services during COVID-19—For people required to practise self-isolation and social distancing, Red Cross will:
    • help them to maintain social connection in safe ways
    • support those in our community who are most vulnerable
    • provide food and practical assistance—Emergency relief packages are available for Victorians self-isolating due to COVID-19 with no access to food and essential supplies. Eligible households will receive a two-week supply of essential goods including food, personal care, and other essential items as required. The packages are for those in mandatory self-isolation, who have little or no food, and no network of family and friends to support them. All enquiries and requests from people in mandatory self-isolation for state-led emergency food and essential relief packages, including at the local level, should be directed to the Victorian Government COVID-19 hotline: 1800 675 398. For further information: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
  • New $300 payment for casual Victorian workers to isolate after tests—Victorian workers without sick leave will be entitled to a $300 government payment to allow them to stay home after getting tested for COVID-19 without being financially worse off. Via the coronavirus hotline, the payment will be available to any worker who has taken a test, and then needs to isolate but does not have sick leave they can fall back on. Those applying will be required to provide a pay slip or, if one cannot be provided, a statutory declaration. Call the Victorian Government COVID-19 hotline: 1800 675 398.

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker support payment—If a Victorian worker tests positive and needs to quarantine for two weeks, they will be eligible for the government’s $1500 hardship payment. This one-off payment is designed to financially support Victorian workers who, as of 20 June 2020, have been instructed by the Department of Health and Human Services to self-isolate or quarantine at home because they are either diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) or are a close contact of a confirmed case.
  • To access immediate emergency assistance or support for those affected by coronavirus, visit the Australian Government Department of Social Services website.
  • For emergency food relief in Wodonga, Albury and Corowa, please access this spreadsheet which provides a description of the food relief provider, contact details and information on eligibility.
  • For more options for emergency relief, food banks plus other services, visit the HWPCP website—COVID-19 Resources.

Legal and consumer rights

Articles and resources can be found on the HWPCP website—COVID-19 Resources.