Health | April 08, 2021

COVID lockdowns leave Victorian kids' mental health worse than any other state, study finds

A new university-led survey has found months of COVID lockdowns “affected the mental health of young Victorian children more than those in other states”.

The survey found the strict lockdowns had a “strong negative effect on child wellbeing”, with young Victorians up to five times more likely to experience emotional and behavioural problems than kids in any other Australian state.

It also found the long second lockdown weighed heavy on Victorian children, with a significant increase in anxiety and high-to-very high depression symptoms.

Shadow Minister for Mental Health Emma Kealy said the data was alarming, and showed the desperate need for adequate supports for Victorian children.

“Three lockdowns and constant worry there’ll be more has turned our lives upside down and it’s clear the constant disruption is taking a heavy toll on the youngest Victorians,” Ms Kealy said.

“This data confirms the widespread harm of Daniel Andrews’ failure to manage hotel quarantine and to get the basics of contact tracing right.

“The Andrews Labor Government’s failures resulted in 801 deaths, tens of thousands of job losses and business closures, and terrible long-term damage to the mental health of our kids.

“Labor has always had a short-sighted view that lockdown causes no harm to the community, but yet again this has been found to be completely untrue with disastrous damage to mental health.

“NSW has always considered lockdown as the last resort and instead put their resources into gold standard hotel quarantine, tracking and tracing.

“It’s time for Daniel Andrews to follow NSW’s lead, to get the basics right and to immediately put an end to reckless knee-jerk statewide lockdowns that cause such incredible harm to mental health.

“We can’t ignore the massive toll lockdown has taken on our kids. They, just like parents, business owners and communities who are still struggling to deal with the financial, emotional and social fallout of Labor’s strict lockdowns, need readily available access to adequate support.

“We know from the Royal Commission into Mental Health that Victoria’s system is broken, but it also identified opportunities for immediate action which the Andrews Labor Government must not delay in implementing.”

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