Helping Young People During COVID-19: The Go-to Guide

Helping Young People During COVID-19: The Go-to Guide
byFYA

The barriers young people already face are being compounded by the impacts of these challenging times. If you’re aged 12-29 or support those who are, here’s the ultimate list of resources, referrals and services to help.

We’re updating this list as new resources become available. If you know a great support service or resource for young Australians during this time that should be included here, please email the details to newsroom@fya.org.au.

Take care of your physical health

If your life is in immediate danger, please call 000

If you become unwell and think you may have symptoms of coronavirus such as a fever, flu-like symptoms (coughing, sore throat and fatigue) or shortness of breath, seek medical attention by calling your doctor or local clinic.  

It’s very important to call the doctor first. They will ask you a series of questions and tell you if you should be tested. They will arrange for the test. Alternatively, if you are sick and think you might have COVID-19, check your symptoms using healthdirect’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptom Checker.

If you have questions or concerns, call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.

Take care of your mental health

You’re not alone

It’s easy to feel unsettled and overwhelmed in times like these. Please take care, look out for one another and reach out to these support services if you need to talk to someone:

Beyond Blue | Phone: 1300 224 636
• Lifeline | Phone: 13 11 14
• Headspace | Phone: 1800 650 890

Helpful mental health resources

Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak by Beyond Blue
• How to cope with stress related to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) by headspace
• Thrive Inside with Smiling Mind is a special mindfulness initiative to foster good mental health habits during COVID-19

Staying informed

Get the latest information about coronavirus in Australia from official government sources.

Get the app
Download the coronavirus app by the Australian Government, available on iOS and Android.

On Whatsapp
Message +61 400 253 787 or go to aus.gov.au/whatsapp in your web browser to get #COVID19 information from the official Australian Government chatbot.

Federal government information
Check out the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Government information by state and territory

Some social distancing rules differ between states and territories. Make sure you know what applies to you:

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
New South Wales (NSW)
Northern Territory (NT)
Queensland (QLD)
South Australia (SA)
Tasmania (TAS)
Victoria (VIC)
Western Australia (WA)

For the latest (and legit) news 

Get your facts and stories from reliable news sources. Here are a few: 

ABC Live Blog is independent news that’s easy to follow
The Age Live Blog is reporting on all new cases and locations
The Hack by triple j translates news for young people

The International Journalists Network has compiled information and tips for journalists, organisations and individuals covering COVID-19.

Don’t fall for fake news
How young people can spot fake news online by The Conversation will help you tell the facts from the fiction. 

Hygiene, social distancing and staying home

How can I stop the spread?
Stay home. It’s the best way to ensure you’re doing your part to protect your community. You also need good hygiene practices. Watch this video by the Australian Government to learn more.

If you need some tips on translating health information and hygiene messages for young people, check out CREATE Foundation‘s Gus Talks COVID With Kids, For Kids! series.The episodes address a range of challenging conversations between children, parents, carers and friends related to COVID-19, with the final episode bringing home a most important message—no matter what you’re feeling, remember you’re not alone.

How to do social distancing
Social distancing—also called physical distancing—is about staying as far away from others to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. Here are the guidelines on social distancing from the Australian Government.

How to deal during isolation

• Here’s
the family lockdown guide: how to emotionally prepare for coronavirus quarantine by The Guardian
How to find joy in the world by Lauren Paynter for the FYA Newsroom
Things to do while staying home during COVID-19 from Youth Affairs Council Victoria
Tips for what to do during isolation
• Tune in to IMAGI-NATION TV by AIME mentoring, a 12pm weekday live-stream chat with some of the best thinkers and doers to break up your day and help put a virtual mentor in everyone’s lives

Financial support 

If you’re out of a job or need financial support, Services Australia (formerly Centrelink) have a range of payments available to young people who have found themselves without work during this time. 

If you’re out of work
The Government has introduced the Coronavirus Supplement which is an additional payment for those on eligible welfare payments. This scheme is worth $550 a fortnight and various people are eligible, including those on JobSeeker (formerly Newstart), and Youth Allowance for job seekers and full-time students.

Follow this 7-step guide from the ABC on how to apply for a JobSeeker payment.

If you’ve been stood down
‘Stood down’ is when your employer freezes your employment instead of terminating it. You won’t be paid but you can stay connected to the business and still accrue entitlements like annual, long service and sick leave if you’re eligible for them, with the intention of resuming your job when it’s possible.

If this happened to you, you may be eligible for the JobKeeper payment. This is where the Government provides $1,500 per fortnight per employee to businesses impacted by COVID-19 so they can pay their staff a base wage even if there’s no work right now, or their hours have been cut. It’s also available to the self-employed and will last for six months. It isn’t currently available to casual workers who have been with the business less than 12 months. Get more info here and talk to your employer about what you’re entitled to.

If you currently receive welfare payments
You’ll automatically get an extra $550 per fortnight for the next six months if you’re eligible. You don’t need to do anything to receive this.

If you’re defined as a low-income earner
From 31 March, a one-off payment of $750 will be automatically made to all social security card holders, income support recipients and eligible concession cardholders. This includes those on Newstart and those receiving family tax benefits. A second one-off payment of $750 will also be made next financial year from July 13 to eligible people.

If you don’t currently receive welfare payments
You need to register your intention to claim a Services Australia payment

If you’re a freelance worker
Here’s a freelancer’s guide to the coronavirus downturn, including jobs, resources and support networks by The Drum.

Know your worker rights
Young law student Bianca explains what your employment rights are and what they might mean for your job security in light of the pandemic, on the FYA Newsroom.

Don’t know where to start?
Can I Get Centrelink is an interactive flowchart to help you work out if and what government payment you may be eligible for from Services Australia (formerly Centrelink).

What’s this about accessing my superannuation early?

From mid-April 2020, people impacted by COVID-19 on or after 1 January 2020 will be able to apply for the early release of up to $10,000 (tax-free) from their superannuation funds. 

You can apply for this if: 

  • You are unemployed;
  • You’re eligible to receive JobSeeker or Youth Allowance for JobSeeker payments; or
  • On or after 1 January 2020, you were made redundant, had your hours reduced by 20% or more, or are a sole trader whose business will be suspended or has experienced reduced trade by 20% or more. 

If you’re eligible, you will be able to apply through the myGov platform from mid-April 2020. More information is available here.

It’s important to note that taking super out now is a big call and shouldn’t be done without serious consideration for the future. Using that money now can have some big impacts on your retirement savings down the line. Learn more about the pros and cons from Choice here.

What if I can’t pay my rent?

The Federal Government announced a six-month eviction moratorium for those under financial stress because of COVID-19, meaning there is a temporary hold on landlords being able to evict tenants in current leases, for both homes and businesses.  

This doesn’t mean renters can stop paying rent, it just means they can’t be kicked out of their home.

So what can you do? The message is to be proactive and negotiate the details with your landlord. For answers to many questions renters are asking, check out the Tenants’ Union of New South Wales.

What if I can’t pay my bills?

Many utility providers and telecommunications companies are offering support for customers who can’t pay their bills on time. 

You may be able to negotiate flexible payment terms with your electricity, gas or water supplier. The advice is to get in touch with the company to see what they can do for you. 

Here are a few phone and internet deals we know about.

Optus: From March 22 eligible postpaid customers (that’s when you receive a bill at the end of the month based on your usage) will receive a once-off data add-on of 20GB during April 2020, while prepaid customers will get 10GB more on a $40 recharge.

Telstra: While most Telstra broadband plans are already unlimited, all customers not on an unlimited data plan will be upgraded to one until 30 April. This applies to both home and small business customers.

Customers with a Telstra postpaid mobile plan can receive an extra 25GB of data, which must be used within 30 days of activation. This applies to both phone and mobile broadband plans, as well as to home and small business customers. 

Customers with an activated prepaid recharge worth at least $40 can request an extra 10GB of data. 

Vodafone: Although most Vodafone postpaid plans already offer unlimited talk time and data, all customers will automatically receive 5GB bonus data at maximum speeds for use over the next month. These allowances will take effect by Friday 27 March.

Likewise, prepaid customers will receive a one-off 3GB of bonus data with their next recharge, regardless of the recharge value.

Aussie Broadband: As of 18 March, Australia’s leading NBN provider will provide any customer on a plan that doesn’t already have unlimited data with unmetered usage between 6am to 6pm. This means that any data used during those times will not count toward a customer’s monthly allowance. Customers still on an NBN 12 plan will be changed to a faster NBN 25 plan at no extra cost. Aussie Broadband will also temporarily stop all service suspensions due to late payments. The telco also offers a range of services for customers experiencing financial hardship, such as payment plans.

What if I can’t pay my bank loan repayments?

Many banks are offering support for customers who can’t pay their loan repayments. 

You may be able to negotiate flexible payment terms with your bank. The advice is to get in touch with the company to see what they can do for you. 

Homelessness services 

Homelessness Australia has a comprehensive directory of national support services and ways to seek help for people experiencing homelessness.

No matter where you are in Australia, Ask Izzy can help you find emergency housing, food and services.

See the relevant state government website for information about crisis and emergency accommodation during COVID-19.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has great info about COVID-19. Check out this communications toolkit full of infographics, social media tiles and downloadable resources created for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Check out NITV (National Indigenous TV) for journalism, stories, updates and resources specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

For young people living with disability 

If you’re a person living with disability, or you know or care for someone who is, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has helpful COVID-19 information.

You can also check out the Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS) for stories, advocacy and policy analysis.

For young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

The Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) has developed a brief info sheet summarising the financial support and assistance available to young people and their families. Download the summary.

The Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN), a part of CMY, have collated a range of multilingual health information and resources. They include state and territory based information, advice on reducing the spread of COVID-19 and social distancing information in over 21 languages.


We’re updating this list as new resources become available. If you know a great support service or resource for young Australians during this time that should be included here, please email the details to newsroom@fya.org.au.