Bupa Foundation extends pandemic support to assist Kids Helpline

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The Bupa Foundation has provided an additional donation of $100,000 to support Kids Helpline manage the surge in demand for its services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The foundation has committed $1.45 million to the service over the past year.

Kids Helpline said children and young people are bearing the brunt of the ongoing pandemic. An average of 15 emergency care interventions are being made by its counsellors each day to help a child that is in immediate harm or danger.

Bupa CEO Hisham El-Ansary said, “Supporting the mental health of our young people has never been so important.”

The company is encouraging its customers, its employees and the general public to support Kids Helpline by donating if they are in a position to do so.

Tracy Adams, the CEO of yourtown, which runs Kids Helpline, said isolation and fear of what the future holds is weighing heavily on young people across Australia at this time.

“Not only are the contacts increasing but the severity and complexity of their needs are too. Children and young people are increasingly experiencing serious mental health concerns, including suicidal ideation or behaviour and self-harm,” said Ms Adams.

The organisation said it has seen an 80 per cent increase in contacts from children aged 5–10. The largest segment of contacts is the 13–18-year old age group. There has been a 200 per cent increase in emergency interventions by Kids Helpline counsellors for children and young people in Victoria in the first six months of 2021 and a 40 per cent increase in emergency interventions for children and young people in New South Wales.

To help parents look after the mental health of their children, Kids Helpline Counsellor Amanda Grehan shared a number of tips.

She said parents should be aware of their feelings and make sure they are looking after their own well-being. They should also ask their children questions about their thoughts and feelings, invite questions and answers, and problem-solve together. Ms Grehan added parents and children should 'switch-off' and take time out together. "Constant news about Covid-19 can be overwhelming, so it’s important to take a break and spend time together as a family," she said.