WELLBEING packs full of health information and resources, plus a few special treats, are being posted to the home of every Foster Secondary College student, thanks to a $5000 South Gippsland Shire COVID-19 Community Support Program Grant.
South Gippsland Hospital Adolescent Health Nurse Bonnie Patterson and Foster Secondary College School Nurse Anna Stefani assembled the 280 packs at the Hospital’s Community Health Centre in Foster on Monday September 21, 2020.
The packs will be delivered to students’ homes or mailboxes during the spring school holidays so they may enjoy the pleasure of receiving a parcel and perhaps have more of a chance to look more closely at what’s inside than they would in term time.
Each student will find effective ways of keeping well, on physical and mental health, and on how and where to access youth help and support services, together with a pack of playing cards, lip balm, and a sachet of drinking chocolate.
Every pack also has a reusable cloth face mask – fashionable black in colour! – as well as detailed instructions on how best to wear it safely and look after it.
Adolescent Health Nurse Bonnie, who also runs the South Gippsland Hospital Youth Clinic held each Monday in the Foster Senior Citizens’ rooms at the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre, applied to the shire for the COVID-19 Community Grant.
South Gippsland Shire approved SGH’s application for the $5000 Community Support Program Grant, stating that the “hard copy welfare and health information packs will provide resources to assist in improving the mental health and wellbeing of young people in Foster and surrounding areas, and will include strategies for dealing with mental health issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“We have been seeing more young people presenting at the clinic during the two COVID-19 lockdown periods with questions and concerns relating to anxiety and their mental health,” Bonnie said.
“The shire’s grant has given us the opportunity to provide every student at Foster Secondary College with accurate, up-to-date health information that comes directly to them via a medium other than technology.
“The packs have hard copy brochures and printed fact sheets from organisations like Headspace and Beyond Blue.
“There’s also contact details for services and resources for youth in South Gippsland provided by the South Coast Primary and Community Partnership, including the youth clinics,” Bonnie said.
“Students will find tips and information on stress and anxiety management, how to balance their screen time, improve the quality of their sleep, and the importance of regular exercise, as well as strategies for general wellbeing,” she said.
“Natural Living Foster’s Shelley Brewer helped source great lip balm and the playing cards in each pack, and Year 12s will also find an extra gift just for them – a stainless steel travel mug they can keep and use right now and when they go on to university or college or into the workforce.”
Bonnie said the Foster Youth Clinic usually operates from the Foster Senior Citizens Centre, part of the FWMAC hall in Main Street, between 12.30 pm and 4 pm every Monday afternoon, though it has been opening earlier, from 10 am, during the past several months, in response to local young people’s greater needs during COVID-19.
“Young people coming to the Youth Clinic also have access to a Headspace outreach worker each week, via telehealth rather than in person at the moment,” she said.
“We hope students will like their care packs, which have something fun as well as being informative; they can play cards, relax with a hot chocolate, and acquire more tools in their kits!”
South Gippsland Hospital Director of Community Health Samantha Park said the packs will “distribute valuable resources to young people throughout the Corner Inlet district.
“We are targeting all Foster Secondary College students, from Year 12s right down to Year Sevens,” she said.
“The packs provide something tangible rather than electronic, and some great presents, too; there really is something to be said about the healing power of chocolate!”
For more information about the South Gippsland Hospital Youth Clinic or to access the clinic please ring 5683 9780 or 0492 844 000.