GIF featuring questions asked by young people at this stage of the pandemic. Most questions relate to what the future will look like. The GIF also feature's the website's title: What now?

We’d like to thank everyone who contributed to this project. Over 130 young people across Victoria contributed their experiences, insights and suggestions on what they thought would help young Victorians like themselves.

This wellbeing toolkit responds to what you told us you needed, to make sense of your lives in 'COVID-normal' times. The resources here are for young people with varying degrees of exposure and vulnerability to COVID. Our intention is to not to suggest there’s one pathway out of the pandemic, but to let you put together the map that best suits you.

You’ve made it through the mass baking events, the lockdowns, and the mental health care walks. Now it’s 2022. What does this year even mean?

The answer: 2022 can be whatever you need it to be. Below, we’ve gathered some resources to help you shape your life for your needs, interests, concerns, or goals. 

Jump to a section:

  1. Figuring out what your future looks like
  2. Building a sustainable career
  3. Growing your resilience and self-advocacy
  4. Looking for connection and community
  5. Finding free mental health support
  6. Frequently asked questions

If you’re looking for immediate practical support, we recommend visiting AskIzzy. AskIzzy connects you to over 400,000 different resources for a range of different needs and locations.

If you’d like to check the latest COVID-19 advice, visit the Victorian Government's Coronavirus website.

Figuring out what your future looks like

If you’re looking for advice on building—or rebuilding—your future, this section’s for you. It covers:

  • advice on dealing with pandemic-induced anxiety
  • figuring out what it means to be an adult
  • practical ways to nurture your best self, through wellbeing and mindfulness, and
  • finding your place and path in a new world.
Black and white cut out image of a person glancing at a clock looking slightly worried.
Advice on dealing with pandemic-induced anxiety
Figuring out what it means to be an adult
Practical ways to nurture your best self, through wellbeing and mindfulness
Finding your place and path in a new world

Building a sustainable career

It can be hard to know what a ‘sustainable career’ is—or the right way to create one. This section covers:

  • resources on entering the workforce
  • understanding what the right job for you looks like
  • advocating for yourself in the workforce, and 
  • managing your finances.
Black and white cut out image of Jenga blocks.
Resources on entering the workforce
Understanding what the right job for you looks like
Advocating for yourself in the workforce
Managing your finances

Growing your resilience and self-advocacy

There’s never been a better time to grow your ability to advocate and care for yourself. This section covers advice on a range of topics, including:

  • understanding and talking about your mental health
  • holding difficult but productive conversations, and
  • advocating for and pursuing your unique needs.
Black and white cut out image of someone watering a cactus to allude to resiliency.
Understanding and talking about your mental health
Holding difficult but productive conversations
Advocating for and pursuing your unique needs

Looking for connection and community

If you’ve felt a little lost or lonely these past few years, you’re not alone. The good news is that no matter your unique identity, there’ll be a community perfect for you. (Most communities meet both in-person and virtually.) The below sections lists community groups and events:

  • for young people in general
  • for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • for people who identify as queer
  • for people living with, or supporting those who have, a disability
  • for multicultural communities
Black and white cut out image of two hands reaching for one another, as if someone is giving their friend a helping hand.
Young people in general
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
People who identify as queer
People living with, or supporting those who have, a disability
Multicultural communities 

Finding free mental health support

You don’t have to take care of your mental health on your own. There are plenty of free and government-subsided resources that can help you make sense of and address what you’re experiencing, whether you’re feeling anxious, afraid, or another feeling that’s hard to define.

If you’re not feeling safe right now, please reach out. Feelings are never final. Call Lifeline on 13 11 44 for over-the-phone support, while if you prefer text conversations, 7CupsofTea can provide non-judgemental support from a stranger. If life is in immediate danger, call 000.

A mental health care plan also provides you with 20 subsidised therapy sessions. For more information, click here.

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I’d like to chat to a professional on the phone
I’d like to message a professional online

Frequently asked questions

1.

Who can I talk to about ongoing support with my mental health?

Your GP can help you get access to a Mental Health Treatment Plan, which subsidises the cost of any sessions you have with a mental health care professional. For more information on Mental Health Treatment Plans, visit healthdirect.

If you’re struggling and need more than therapy — store-bought support is more than fine. Your GP can also help you get access to medication.

2.

How can I get better at asking for help?

It can be difficult to ask for help. It’s a skill that needs to be practiced — but over time, advocating for your needs can get easier and easier.

Try and check in with your friend/family/trusted adult ahead of time. By letting them know you need their help, either through text or just in passing, you’ll have prepared them on what to expect. Then, when you’re both in the room, ensure you get the chance to detail the entirety of what you need help with before.

You can ask for help in the lightest of situations — like wanting help deciphering COVID-19 information — or in the most complex.

Avoid providing an ‘opt out’ at the end of a request, as well. (For example, don’t close off a request by saying ‘but you don’t have to do x if you don’t have the time.) While it’s easy to do, standing by your needs and requests is a way of advocating for yourself.

For more on growing your self-resilience and advocacy, go here.

3.

How up-to-date do I need to keep with world news?

It’s honestly up to you. If you feel like you’re doomscrolling, it’s worth stepping away from social media or your news feed. It’s more important to protect your mental health than it is to stay up-to-date.

Podcasts like the Guardian’s Full Story and Schwartz Media’s 7am can also help you stay up-to-date, without being overwhelming.

4.

How do I know which media outlets are reliable and trustworthy?

Ask yourself these three questions:

  • Does the story or headline seem fair, balanced, and legitimate?
  • Are the quotes and information correctly sourced and used?
  • Does the media outlet you’re reading have an agenda?

If you answered ‘yes’, ‘yes’, and ‘no’, it’s a pretty good sign that what you’re reading is trustworthy. It can be hard to spot fake news or misinformation, but thinking critically about why a news story has been developed and how it’s been constructed can help you avoid fake news.

It’s always worth getting a second opinion from a friend or trusted adult, as well.

5.

How up-to-date do I need to keep with health news?

It’s up to you.

If you feel like daily updates aren’t helpful or practical, you don’t need to read or watch daily updates. If you’re concerned and want to stay informed, the Victorian Government’s Coronavirus website can be helpful.

Significant changes in Victoria’s public health approach will be widely broadcast — so if things change, you’ll be informed.

Something missing?

What are some resources/services we've missed that you access that help improve your mental health and wellbeing?

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