Canberra not-for-profit organisation, Relationships Australia Canberra & Region (RACR) have committed to improving family and partner connections following COVID-19 isolation and pressure.
RACR held a survey that found about half of the 419 participants experienced increased feelings of anxiety, low moods and loneliness, while 42% reported isolation had a negative impact on their partner relationships.
RACR CEO Alison Brook said while she was not surprised by the results, she had found them insightful and helpful in tailoring the organisation’s response.
“Our business is people’s relationships and how we can support them. We thought there would be some tensions, but we didn’t know what that would look like in the household,” she said.
“We thought there would be feelings of depression and anxiety and about half our respondents talked about that. That is a very big problem with the second wave of COVID.”
RACR has now developed three free groups for the community to enhance their partner and family relationships during this time.
The three groups are focused on couples’ relationships, co-parenting and first-time parents.
“Parenting after separation has been really tough during lockdown. In a lot of families, a lot of children have missed out on having a full relationship with both parents because of lockdown and isolation,” Ms Brook said.
“The groups have been around for a few months now. We have restarted them after a few years since stopping them.
“We thought it was a good chance to bring the free service back to the Canberra community.”
All groups have been run online for the past few months, with Ms Brook saying they would continue them and eventually offer a mixture of online and face-to-face resources.
Ms Brook said the first-time parenting group had been especially successful during the lockdown.
“Can you imagine there is no mother’s group, there isn’t any dropping into the maternal health centre and hanging out. All of those things that can bring you comfort during a really vulnerable are unavailable at the moment,” she said.
For more information on the groups, visit https://racr.org.au/.