We are currently facing an unprecedented global challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic.
School closures, lockdowns and 24/7 news coverage of the spread of the virus will undoubtedly impact the mental health and wellbeing of many students, school staff and other members of our community.
We hope the following resources are helpful during this difficult time (listed alphabetically).
Please also visit the relevant Department of Health website in your home state or territory for local information.
PESA Schools Share their Wellbeing Strategies
The schools below have shared short 5-10 minute videos of their wellbeing strategies during the pandemic. Perfect ‘coffee break’ sized reflections that we hope will provide some great ideas and inspirations for your own school’s response.
Action for Happiness have launched ’10 Days of Happiness’ to help support the mental health of people during the pandemic. This free 10-day online coaching program guides you through daily actions for happier living
This is an open access resource, relevant for learning from home or on-campus. The portal is designed predominantly for school staff rather than students and families, although there are some resources for each of those stakeholders.
This resource encourages us to build a sense of a “we,” that we are all in this together, as one human family who cares deeply for the wellbeing of all. And our ability to actualise this possibility requires a profound shift in mindset: towards what we call a benefit mindset. In this guide, Carol Dweck’s research on growth mindset is evolved to introduce benefit mindset, to support learning communities.
Berry Street has developed some excellent resources to help you support the children and young people in your life at this uncertain time. They will continue to add to these resources so check back regularly.
BeyondBlue has developed a dedicated COVID-19 Mental Health Support Service which offers free counselling by mental health professionals for all people in Australia 24/7, both online and over the phone. It also provides free and easily accessible information and advice around coping with COVID-19, isolation and connection, workplace and financial hardship, and how best to support the mental health of loved ones. The service will be continually updated with new information, and enhanced with other tools and supports, over the coming weeks and months.
An easy to digest weekly tip (including how to’s and why they work) for parents helping their families build resilience.
The University of Pennsylvania is releasing a free resilience course taught by the Positive Psychology Center’s own Karen Reivich.
With many schools around the world endeavouring to educate their students remotely, Geelong Grammar’s Institute of Positive Education has created a series of free Wellbeing Resources for Remote Learning.
This resource is updated regularly by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Centre with practices, resources, and articles for individuals, parents, and educators facing COVID-19
Greater Good in Education features a collection of science‐based practices for integrating social‐emotional learning, mindfulness, and character education into the DNA of classrooms and schools.
Report on how schools are meeting social-emotional needs during the pandemic.
Guided meditations, animations, articles and videos, all in the distinct Headspace style.
A 30-day gratitude practice with exercises delivered to your inbox each day.
For young people aged 12-20 living with a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability, and their siblings, Livewire Online is a free online community provided by Starlight Children’s Foundation. The platform connects a young people across Australia and New Zealand in a safe and supportive environment centred around fun, positive distraction, and genuine peer support. It hosts a moderated live chat (operating and staffed from midday to midnight, 7 days a week), competitions, an active newsfeed, live streaming, special events and regular visits from popular guests. Livewire Online is fully moderated and Starlight is fully accredited by the Australian Childhood Foundation as a safeguarding organisation.
Monash University has developed THRIVE@Monash, a first-of-its kind program to help educators understand the digital markers of poor mental health in its students during COVID-19. Students are encouraged to share their experiences and help develop resources to help them to cope moving forward.
This report aims at supporting education decision making to develop and implement effective education responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
It explains why the necessary social isolation measures will disrupt school-based education for several months in most countries around the world. If there is no intentional and effective strategy to protect the opportunity to learn during this period, this disruption will cause severe learning losses for students.
The report proposes that leaders of education systems and organizations develop plans for the continuation of education through alternate modalities, during the period of necessary social isolation. It offers a framework of areas to be covered by such plans.
PERMAH Wellbeing Survey – Michelle McQuaid
This free survey provides a free report which provides a reliable and confidential measure of your wellbeing. It also provides a step-by-step guide to:
- Assess what’s working well, where you’re struggling, and what you’re learning about caring for your wellbeing, to help you become more intelligent about the wellbeing choices that work best for you
- Adjust your wellbeing goals by reaching for self-compassion instead of self-criticism and, like a wise and kind coach, start holding yourself accountable to apply what you’ve learned, or to seek help where you need it
- Act and take the next step in caring for your wellbeing with nudges, tiny habits, or a wellbeing coach to help experiment with more than 200 small, evidence-based wellbeing activities that can be fit into even the busiest of days
Click here to view the video of our ACT Chapter Event in September 2020: ‘Tales from the Trenches – A Positive Look at our COVID Journey’ with Ash Buchanan and Dan Haesler
This care-kit contains a variety of psychological strategies to help you thrive, not just survive in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex & ambiguous) world, covering flourishing, mental toughness, stress management and mindset.
ReachOut is one of Australia’s leading online mental health organisations for young people and their parents. With practical support, tools and tips help young people get through anything from everyday issues to tough times – and the information offered to parents makes it easier for them to help their teenagers, too.
10 Tips to Take Care of Yourself During Coronavirus – offers 10 practical strategies for self-care.
The Resilience Project delivers emotionally engaging programs to schools, sports clubs and businesses, providing practical, evidence-based, positive mental health strategies to build resilience and happiness
Thrive Inside is a special Coronavirus initiative to help you stay calm and healthy in the physical constraints of your home, while remaining calm and healthy inside your mind.
This resource has a myriad of practical ideas on caring for individuals, community, having fun, leadership, family, social media and more.
The Hub provides high quality, age-appropriate information and resources targeted specifically to educators, parents and students to support student wellbeing and safety. The educator area contains free, self-paced and certificated professional learning courses on a range of key topics for schools. The parent area contains advice, information and guides to support them navigate their children’s journey through school. Students can access games, quizzes and information about important issues.
Insightful webinar on COVID-19 and its impact on schooling, teaching and student wellbeing, featuring Professor Faye McCallum, Associate Professor Mathew White, Professor Lea Waters AM and Professor Lindsay Oades. 28 May 2020.
Join VIA for 30 mins each Monday at 5PM USA EDT (7AM Tuesdays – Sydney time) for an interactive experience combining character strengths and mindfulness practices to activate your best qualities, boost resilience, and find greater balance and peace.
There are a number of additional resources specific to the Coronavirus pandemic on the VIA site – please click here.
Wellbeing and Resilience Education engages with the immediate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the theoretical and applied elements of wellbeing and resilience education. It explores the implications for students, teachers, and teaching from a transdisciplinary and international perspective. Featuring thirteen chapters written by 27 academics from across the globe, it includes new transdisciplinary research by organisational psychologists, psychologists, neuroscientists, policy experts and education researchers. The book comprises a wide range of topics including: appreciative inquiry, educational leadership, refugee education, resilience education, designing online courses, teacher wellbeing and community responses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This book will be of interest to academics, initial teacher educators, postgraduate students, school leaders and policymakers researching the field of wellbeing, resilience, education, schools, and schooling.
A suite of free online resources, including an E-booklet of 12 wellbeing activities to run in virtual classrooms which can be run by teachers in online classrooms and are designed to run to bolster students’ strengths, emotional management, attention and awareness, relationships, coping and habits and goals. There is also a family handout with 12 activities that parents can run at home with their kids based upon the SEARCH framework, in addition to a series of videos on how to navigate Coronavirus with positivity.
Lea is also offering PESA members a 20% discount on the VWB e-program as well as the Strength Stars downloadable Strength-Based Framework Type in the code PESA20 in the coupon box to access your discount.
Lea has also made available a series of free webinars on student wellbeing, teacher wellbeing, and positive lessons from COVID-19 for Schools, as well as a series of 8 free videos in partnership with The Guardian.
Lea’s Six Online Activities to Help Students Cope with COVID-19 outlines well-being practices to help students feel connected and resilient during the pandemic. Six Online Activities to Help Students Cope with COVID-19
Watch discussions featuring faculty and alumni in Wharton’s new course, “Epidemics, Natural Disasters, and Geopolitics: Managing Global Business and Financial Uncertainty,” which focuses on the impact and implications of the coronavirus pandemic. Includes videos by Angela Duckworth, Katy Milkman, and Mario Guillen on topics such as:
- Managing stress and anxiety during the pandemic
- Ways to form new routines when working from home
- How to find happiness during a stressful time
- How to manage uncertainty and maintain a sense of purpose during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ARTICLES ABOUT COPING & THRIVING STRATEGIES
Additionally, the following articles provide helpful strategies for coping and thriving during this time.
Silver linings: how to stay positive during the coronavirus crisis by Professor Lea Waters AM
Article by Lea Waters about looking for the silver linings by savour the small moments, strengthening your connections and looking for the good in others, with practical suggestions for things you can do to foster positive emotions:
- Savour the small moments
- Strengthen your connections
- Look for the good in others
How to Hold on to Happiness When Your World Collapses. Tips for four weeks of self-isolation: An evidence-based guide by Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky
Professor Lyuobmirsky offers a simple evidence-based four-week guide, which suggests three activities that we can try every week that will leave us feeling happier, healthier, and more uplifted during these trying, crisis-filled times.
Practice gratitude – Be optimistic – Appreciate your senses
Simply make a move – Do acts of kindness – Become absorbed in what you do
Laugh and smile – Show genuine interest in others – Reminisce
Transport yourself with your senses – Connect with someone – Celebrate your successes
How to connect when you must stay apart – GGSC Podcast
Physical distancing needn’t mean we neglect our relationships. This Greater Good Science of Happiness Podcast explores 36 questions designed to bring people closer.
Students: How to look after your mental health by Peter Thomas (ABC Education website)
For students feeling anxious or stressed about what they’re seeing online or on TV, or hearing from other people, this article highlights some simple mindfulness techniques to help students manage their stress. Includes Smiling Mind videos too.
How to Support Teachers’ Emotional Needs Right Now by Cipriano, C and Brackett, M
Article about teacher wellbeing during COVID-19 with many feeling anxious, fearful, worried, overwhelmed and sad. Emotions drive effective teaching and learning, the decisions educators make, classroom and school climate, and educator well-being. This article suggests building an “Emotional Intelligence Charter” to support teachers’ emotional needs.
Suggests four ways we can encourage more altruism while fighting the virus:
- Look to the heroes (moral elevation)
- Stay calm and focused
- Show gratitude
- Remember our common humanity and show compassion
- Connect – Connect with the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
- Be Active – Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.
- Be Curious – Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.
- Keep Learning – Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. As well as being fun, learning new things will make you more confident.
- Give – Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
Strategies to assist parents with home-supported learning by Dr Tanya Vaughan and Susannah Schoeffel
In this home-supported learning environment parents are being called upon to play a broader role in their children’s education. The role of the parent is not to replace the teacher in learning from home, rather it may be thought of as working as an Integration Aide or Teaching Assistant to support the learning coming from the school.
Dr Tanya Vaughan and Susannah Schoeffel share evidence (with an extensive reference list) on how teachers can work with parents to support students in a rapidly changing education landscape.
Help Students Process COVID-19 Emotions with this Lesson Plan by Maurice Elias
When we experience emotions like sadness and anxiety, research suggests that expressing them through visual and performing arts is one of the most effective outlets to process them.
The Coronavirus pandemic is testing – and building – our resilience by Hayley Gleeson for ABC
Strategies suggested in this article include looking for silver linings, re-framing threats as challenges, being mindful of how you cope with stress, and building relationships
Are you worried about the Coronavirus? by Robert L Leahy, PhD
7 steps to help cope, including: Validate Your Anxiety; Distinguish Between Productive and Unproductive Worry; Accept Uncertainty and What You Cannot Control; Look at Probability Not Possibility; Avoid Google-itis; Set Aside Worry Time; and Have Daily Goals.
The uncertain brain: A guide to facing the fear of the unknown by Dr Sarah McKay
What is your tolerance to uncertainty? It is important to understand we all vary in our tolerance to uncertainty, and different people, therefore, deploy a range of coping mechanisms. Some people are comfortable with not knowing how what the future holds, while other people can’t cope with even the smallest degree of doubt.
Dr Sarah Mackay suggests seven actions you can take to train your brain to be tolerant of uncertainty:
- CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN
- SET A DAILY SCHEDULE
- FALL BACK ON SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES
- MOVE THE GOALPOSTS CLOSE
- REWARD YOURSELF REGULARLY
- MOVE YOUR BODY
- SUPPORT OTHERS.
Teacher wellbeing during COVID-19 by R Collie and A Martin
This article provides evidence-backed strategies that can help support teachers’ wellbeing. Social distancing has been identified as a crucial step to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Recently, however, psychologists have highlighted that physical distancing might be a more appropriate word (Miller, 2020): we should be ensuring physical distance from others, but not social distance. At these times, and in fact all times, social support is essential for our wellbeing (Waldinger, 2015). This is true for teachers and people in general.
‘FACE COVID’ by Russ Harris
See video also
‘FACE COVID’ is a set of practical steps for responding effectively to the Corona crisis, using the principles of ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy):