With a large portion of the state in lockdown since late June, New South Welshman are doing it tough and are in desperate need of a silver lining. Despite the current times presenting many challenges, it is a chance to create some truly magical memories and remember that everyone is still together.

From entertaining their kids, to entertaining themselves and finding original ways to keep their minds stimulated and busy, communities in NSW are running out of ideas.

Understandably the instability and unpredictably of recent months has taken its toll on people across the state. Before COVID 19 reached our shores, roughly 5 per cent of Australians reported moderate to severe symptoms of depression, but by April 2020 with the nation in its first lockdown this figure increased five-fold1
Research has found strict lockdowns lead to the highest levels of depression and anxiety on record, but where restrictions were eased people report lower, while still significant, levels of mental health problems. Through targeted and topical daily activities, The Family Project (TFP will support the mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of NSW families. Launching a new activity each day, the adaptable themes will be delivered to families online.

Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women, Bronnie Taylor , said with families having to continuously adjust to a new normal, it is important Australians don’t neglect their wellbeing.

“The current COVID-19 crisis is extremely challenging for both parents and children who feel overwhelmed and exhausted by the constant demands of remote learning, working from home and the juggling of competing expectations,” Mrs Taylor said.

To support people across NSW with these daily challenges, a new, free to all initiative launches today. The Family Project aims to support families with building connection, resilience and togetherness within their household through this time of crisis.

The Family Project is a collaboration between perinatal mental health organisation, Gidget Foundation Australia (GFA and parenting support organisation, Tresillian. This project will also be recognised as an initiative of the NSW Government.

CEO of Gidget Foundation Australia, Arabella Gibson said today, “When considering how a family connects, it’s important to remember that adult interpretations of COVID-19 are very di<erent to that of young people. For a person of 50 years old, this pandemic has taken up 3% of their life. Most of their time on earth has been as an adult, meaning they have much more life experience, wisdom, perspective, and understanding that the pandemic will pass.

“However, for an 8-year-old, this pandemic has taken up nearly 20% of their life. It’s more likely that children would believe the relentless stream of negativity and fixate on the challenges of the pandemic. With this in mind, adults have an enormous responsibility to ensure young people are hearing alternative and positive narratives at home.

“That’s why we’re launching The Family Project – to support parents in being thoughtful and engaged role-models as we know that can be a lot harder in practice than it sounds. If as a community we can demonstrate how it’s possible to be part of the solution, everyone will benefit,” Ms Gibson said.

Mrs Taylor continues, “Families are under so much pressure in lockdown, this one stop shop will be the place they can go to 1nd simple ideas of things to do on the weekend within their area, practical tips to support emotional and physical wellbeing and advice on home schooling.

“The Family Project will factor in COVID-19 restrictions so you will be able to see what activities are safe within 5km from your home. For parents struggling to find things to do with their children on weekends, this website will have the answers,” Mrs Taylor said.

Whilst there are many mental health organisations working hard towards meeting the demand of the public, the wellbeing of the family unit remains firmly in the hands of those within it. The Family Project can provide a platform for all members of the family to unite and engage and combat these continuous challenges together.

The Family Project is a free-to-all platform which will feature topical daily themes, activities and advice, all delivered online. The website will also offer families a plethora of ideas to create a schedule planner on a daily or weekly basis. Family Project

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