In the Media

Opinion Piece - Parents Can See The Harm.

PARENTS CAN SEE THE HARM

HERALD SUN

30 August 2021

JAMES NEWBURY

TWO big things are happening among parents. There is a silent revolution brewing.

Over the past 18 months, we have proved we will accept the loss of almost any freedom, so long as it’s for our better health.

We won’t even bat an eyelid if comedians around the world tap into the rich vein of our contradictory restrictions.

But for weeks, there has been a silent but growing movement among parents. Quiet whispers.

Parents have been asking each other in hushed tones, what is being done to protect our kids’ mental health?

Parents know their kids are suffering. We adults might be willing to endure unreasonable pain, but parents won’t let their kids suffer in the same way.

Parents are now pushing back. They are bending or ignoring rules if it helps their kids.

We know children are sponges. Right now, they’re absorbing negativity and it’s affecting them. You can see it every day when case numbers are announced. It sets off a wave of depression that sweeps across every suburb. It is toxic. And our kids are witness to it.

The experts agree there is a big problem with the mental health of our young Victorians, describing the growing juggernaut as a car crash. It’s now a shadow pandemic.

Those who know best estimate there is a 20 to 30 per cent surge in demand for mental health support.

On the ground, parents see the same, and report a two to three-month waiting time for child mental health support.

The pain among children is palpable. Any responsible government would have already incorporated mental health messaging into the daily press conference. And they would have ensured that expert mental health advice helped shape lockdown restrictions. That isn’t happening in Victoria. The Premier has proved unwilling to share his daily stage.

Parents have also decided government policy is doing our kids more harm than good.

Remote learning isn’t working. We need kids back in school. Educational development has slowed, and we are lucky social development isn’t measured. We know what that would show.

The culmination of damaging policy doesn’t stop with our schools being locked up. Government has now chain-closed childcare. And you better not go near a playground for fear of the Premier’s finger wagging at the podium.

Parents know there is something wrong with our kids’ mental health, that the restrictions aren’t helping, and that the government isn’t doing enough about it.

JAMES NEWBURY IS THE LIBERAL MEMBER FOR BRIGHTON

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