This September 2021 Community Zoom Forum attracted nearly 400 registrations. The focus was on offering practical strategies for the parents and grandparents of adolescents and teens who are dealing with anxiety, instability and uncertainty.
The highlight of the event was Julie’s live interviews with three students from three high school students, Ruby, Tobey and Mushka from years 10, 11 and 12. While each student discussed their coping strategies in an optimistic way, the stress caused by the pandemic was very clear: especially the pressure of uncertainty about the future, limited face-to-face contact with friends, Zoom-based education in lockdowns and the fact that their parents and teachers had never experienced anything like this themselves.
The expert panel members responded to the students and live audience questions: Psychologist Dr Paula Robinson, CEO Applied Positive Psychology Learning Institute; Prof Patrick McGorry AO, Professor of Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne and Director of Orygen Youth Health and Orygen Youth Health Research Centre in Victoria; and Ashely de Silva, CEO ReachOut.
The audience questions were moderated by GP Dr Allan Shell. It was sobering to hear directly from young people about the significant challenges they are facing. It was also heartening to listen to them analysing their dilemmas, reflecting on the efforts of the adults in their lives to help them and seeking out their own ways to manage their once-in-a-century pandemic experience.