Our Phoenix newspapers deliver good-news stories each week, stories that highlight the achievements of our wonderful communities in various NSW local government areas (LGAs). In some LGAs the papers are issued in print and online, and in other LGAs they are purely online. Our papers are written by local journalists, and our advertising managers are also employed locally.
Like other businesses, the Phoenix papers have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, and like other workers across the State, our staff have not been untouched by the pandemic. The following is the story of one of our team members, who experienced a downturn in her mental health as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns.
“I love my role at the Phoenix, as it’s an organisation with values that match my own, such as community service, optimism, integrity, inclusion, and respect.
“Like many people I was able to adjust to COVID-19 pretty well in 2020, with mask wearing, hand-sanitisation, COVID testing, and quarantine (as required), quickly becoming the norm. However, things got more difficult as the pandemic dragged on. While I was pleased to roll up my sleeves and be vaccinated, the constant changes to the lockdown situation meant that I was unable to attend two health appointments in another LGA, could not sufficiently draw on extended family support networks, and was prevented from seeing my children and their families who live in another LGA.
“In terms of the last point, people proclaim that you can connect with loved ones through the telephone and online video platforms, but I’m afraid they are a very poor substitute for someone like me. I need to hug my family members, to trade stories over coffee and hot chocolate, and just spend time with them.
“So many times, we made plans to get together, and so many times these plans were dashed. There is a saying that “hope floats”, but I’m afraid that the lockdowns had a very detrimental effect on my optimism. It became harder and harder to believe in a good future as the COVID situation in NSW became ever more fraught. I ended up in severe distress and spent almost two weeks in a hospital psychiatric ward.
“I’m glad to say that the care and support I received in hospital helped me greatly, and that I am on the road to recovery. I’m having weekly appointments with a local psychologist and more contact with my family than I formerly did, though the prospect of holding them again in my arms still brings me to tears.”
Our staff member’s account is just one amongst thousands in NSW alone. Please, if you or your loved ones are experiencing psychological distress due to COVID-19, seek help from a support service:
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