An open letter to Daniel Andrews

Dear Daniel Andrews,

I speak on behalf of our city, our people and our children/youth. I speak from a place of concern and a place that GENUINELY means it when I say “we are in this together”

Have you spent any of your own personal money to help people in need? Have you been out speaking to real people about their real struggles? I know I have, I know our community has, but have you? Have you really experienced financial struggle? How can you possibly help what you don’t understand and what you haven’t experienced yourself?

Out of my own pocket, I have worked my ass off supporting our community. I can tell you first hand that this is a community that feels unheard, unseen and a community that is suffering far more than you seem to realise. This is a community that is saying that what our premier is doing, is simply NOT enough!

Mr. Andrews, until you stop your own payments or struggle to afford to eat, to find essentials, struggle to pay your bills, suffer from severe isolation and mental illness, lose your job, have all contact with the people surrounding and supporting you made illegal and until you struggle to survive, don’t you dare say that we are in this together. It’s insulting. Victoria and Australia are in this together, but we aren’t in this with you.
You have made this clear. So clear in-fact that we have created a fun drinking game made about you. *take a shot every times Daniel Andrews says the word “I” instead of “we” *

Here’s the thing, This is not a pandemic, this is a financial and mental health emergency. Yes, Okay, we are in a state of disaster but this state of disaster is not how you imply every time you make an announcement on our televisions. The true disaster is that hundreds of suicides have taken place during the first weeks of lockdown. That’s hundreds of lives lost, hundreds of grieving families and friends who more than likely won’t be able to grieve nor receive the closure that they need. People who will more than likely suffer with their own mental health due to this.

I want to bring a number of things to your attention.
We have been so focused on covid19 that people are forgetting about our youth. Our youth, the next generation but also the unheard and forgotten. Along side the elderly, people living in abusive homes and poverty, our youth are our most vulnerable in my opinion. Many of these suicides and calls to helplines are children who are struggling with isolation. Children who have never suffered with their mental health until now. You said it yourself, you have seen the stats yourself. The helplines and food banks are overrun right now.

Let’s remember that being in school can be a child’s only escape from an abusive, unhealthy and toxic home. School is their only safe haven. I understand home learning is mandatory right now but what are we doing to help this particular issue? To a person of youth, friendships and connection is all they have and their only safety net has just been ripped away from them. Alone and isolated from their only friends and positive role models. Alone with their thoughts and feelings with very little understanding of what their emotions mean, not to mention their inability to self regulate at such an age. Who is helping the youth who are struggling? Who is supporting our youth who don’t have a healthy relationship with their parents and who are unable to reach out?

The psychological effects of confinement and isolation last long after individuals are removed from isolation.

Are we back in the war days? Back when isolation from friends and family was a form of torture? Because right in this very moment, this feels like torture for many. So what can we do to help support our youth? What are we going to do to actively support everyone else suffering? Grants and towards metal health and financial hardship is great. I know that you’re doing the best you can but again, it’s simply not enough.
What do grants for mental health achieve when a suicidal or a mentally ill child will only confide to a friend but their parents have taken away their devices/give them no privacy. I’m sure you know that many teens will not reach out for urgent support. Their only lifelines are their friends, their only lifeline is meeting at a park to have a good cry and rant away from home. So with that in mind, how do we find a solution to this?

Depression is taking more lives than covid19

Are you listening to my plea? Are you listening to us? Did you hear us when we say people are dying from the decline in mental health? Do you hear us when we say that people are dying from the financial stress that they are under?
If we’re going to practice true compassion, we also need to be aware of the pain, fear, and instability of this country right now, so I just want to make you aware of the real struggles that our community are facing.
How are people expected to receive support when hotlines are engaged, when food drives are so overwhelmed that they are knocking people back from receiving the support that they so desperately need. (I know this to be true because I have provided for many people who have been knocked back from essential government services)

Whilst your business has surely increased, ours has declined. Something to remember is that our normal day to day busyness keeps us, well….busy. Our day to day lives can be an unintentional distraction for many. The busyness of our lives has pushed aside many of our deepest feelings and kept our emotions at bay. Then all of a sudden isolation is a must and the busyness of our daily lives has been stripped away from us. This can be a traumatic and very confronting experience for some. Taking away daily distractions is an effective way to bring all emotions to the surface – resulting in anxiety and mental health struggles.

This is not to dismiss that our physical health is a factor however, mental health should have been a top priority and well thought through when implementing these new restrictions.

  • Some of us are families with children who deeply rely on support from schools/daycare, family and friends ect; families who no longer have that extra support and help due to isolation – resulting in anxiety and mental health struggles.
  • Some of us have lost jobs or are struggling financially due to these restrictions – resulting in anxiety and mental health struggles.
  • Some of us are managing mental/physical illness and are no longer able to access the resources and tools that were usually implemented and used to guide us – resulting in anxiety and mental health struggles.
  • Some of us are children living in abusive homes, or with caregivers that we don’t have a positive relationship with. Children who won’t use their voice or ask for help, but would rather receive support when with friends and teachers until now – resulting in anxiety and mental health struggles.
  • Some of us don’t know where we stand with our work or business’s, the depths of this uncertainty and the unknown is – resulting in anxiety and mental health struggles.
  • Some of us are experiencing mental health issues for the very first time.
  • Some of us are living in abusive homes and are now locked here, not knowing if we will make it out alive. Yes there are services out there, but how does a victim escape safely when we all know that the most dangerous time for a person experiencing domestic violence is within the first 24 hours of leaving. How does a victim reach out for help when they are being monitored by their abuser, this too – resulting in anxiety and mental health struggles.
  • Some of us are already living in poverty and are now struggling more than ever to afford mask, and as the prices rise for other essential items this is – resulting in anxiety and mental health struggles.
  • Some of us are experiencing homelessness. The list to this issue is very long so I’ll keep it short, HOMELESSNESS: unable to even keep warm let alone follow these restrictions accordingly. It goes without say that this too is – resulting in anxiety and mental health struggles.

Many of us are grieving right now, some are grieving the loss of loved ones alone. Some of us have had to cancel special events that meant a lot to us. Some of us are hurting for our children who are missing out on vital parts of their lives. Some of us are empaths and are struggling with seeing others struggle. Some of us are scared and confused about what the future holds. Some of us are struggling with isolation more than we are expressing. There are so many circumstances that are taking over our community and this is only a very small list of some contributing factors to the decline in mental health.

So Mr. Andrews, I ask again. What are you, the premier of Victoria, the one who has taken away our only form of security and structure, what are you going to do? It is unfair, if not arrogant and ignorant to force or assume that everyone has the ability to receive or reach out to the services that are out there so how do we reach those in need ?

What can do we do to help?

I am a woman who has funded thousands of dollars out of my own pocket to help those in need. If I alone, as one person, one woman, one mother, and a person with very serious health conditions have been able to help as many people as I have in our community during this time, quite literally bending over backwards to help those who can’t access help themselves, then why aren’t the rest of us?

I don’t expect you to do the dirty work, I already have been and I will happily continue to do that for our community.
If I had the finances to pay for all the fines and items you bet I would go door to door and ask people what they need and provide it to them, but I can’t do that and I can’t afford that.

Mr. Andrews, you shut down parliament so no one can oppose you, so what can we do to make change from here on?
Please tell us, tell me, tell me what I can do to help and I promise I’ll be there.

After reading this, do you now realise the massive and negative impact that this is creating and the panic that you’re forcing onto our community?
I should not have to take it upon myself to help the community but I have, so I beg of you, dictate all you want but please help our community. Allow one person visits, allow the NDIS to visit their patients in need, allow children to have a friend over, allow me to go to the city and help those in need, do something for the families in danger, people living in poverty, our youth and for our people. I am not sure what the solution is but please, do something, anything!

Lead me in the right direction and I’ll do it for you! But please, just step up. Step up and do it now because people are dying, not from covid19 but from poor choices made on behalf of everyone in this state, choices that have clearly not taking the vulnerable into consideration.
These choices that will affect many of us and the economy well after covid19 is gone, so I urge you to take this seriously.

Yours Sincerely,
Another statistic

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