The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to deal with many unexpected – and seemingly endless – challenges during 2020. If you’ve been struggling to look after your mental health while studying during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. 

There’s lots of people out there who admit to being anxious and worried, while also having their confidence knocked trying to wrangle Zoom lectures, technology, social distancing and worries about the economy.

A survey into Australians aged between 18 and 24 by the Australian Foundation for Young People says the way Australians live, learn and work has been forever changed by COVID-19 and its economic and social impacts. 

Zooming towards change

At h&h Accredited Training, our own staff have adapted to new online training delivery over Zoom and we have implemented COVID-safe protocols like making sure all college visitors register their details and remain socially distant on campus.

The college has been working with aged care environments to deliver infection control training and now we offer online training for those working in food and retail environments.

h&h has also found work-arounds for our qualifications that demand workplace assessment or work placements at a time when many organisations – especially aged care environments trying to protect the vulnerable elderly population –  aren’t keen on having non-essential people add to any COVID risks.

Our compliance manager Sean Le says h&h is working closely with students and organisations to help them find quality work placements in a time when many community organisations are limiting visitors.

COVID has made things harder for compliance, especially as some units of competency demand that skills are assessed in the workplace, not a simulated environment. Sean says.

“COVID has made things harder for compliance, especially as some units of competency demand that skills are assessed in the workplace, not a simulated environment,” Sean says.

The college is here for support – please reach out

h&h General Manager Kate Lovett says any students feeling worried or anxious about completing their qualification have the full support of their trainers and course co-ordinator.

“We offer all the support we can to make training fit in with people’s busy – and sometimes stressful – lives,” she says. “People simply need to call or email us and we are there for them – don’t be afraid to put up your hand and ask for help.”

Putting the COVID challenges into perspective

With no clear end to the pandemic in sight, we may not ever return to ‘normal’ – so it’s easy to see why our usual levels of resilience have taken a hit and we feel overwhelmed at times. It can be helpful to firstly understand the key challenges and try to address them one-by-one.

Some of the mental health challenges during COVID-19 have included:

  • Financial worries: During this pandemic, many people lost their jobs, particularly in hard hit industries like hospitality and tourism. While the federal government launched support through Jobkeeper and Jobseeker, there are some people who fell through the cracks – such as some international student visa holders – and received limited financial support.   
  • Health worries: Concern about our physical health has also had an impact on our mental health. Older people, those with disabilities or health conditions like diabetes are more vulnerable to COVID and probably worry more. But people caring for young children or the elderly have also faced additional concerns that have negatively affected mental health. Ironically, staying at home to protect our physical health has meant that most people have become less active, which adds to the negative impacts. 
  • Isolation and loneliness at home: Regular communication with fellow students and trainers can help minimise these feelings, so keep in touch with your friends, family and support network at h&h and try to start or end the day with a personal conversation over the phone or online chat to remain connected.    

As the impact of the virus continues to be felt on our personal and professional lives, our mental health and wellbeing needs to be a top priority. 

Everybody is having different experiences, but take time to regularly assess your own mental health, address any challenges and take steps to care for yourself mentally.