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COVID-19 Lower Hume weekly update 

Welcome to the second edition of the Lower Hume PCP weekly COVID-19 update. We hope this weekly newsletter assists in collating useful COVID-19 resources and local information across Mitchell & Murrindindi Shires.

We would love to hear any feedback or share resources that you think would be useful for other people working in health and community services across Lower Hume. You can unsubscribe from these emails through a link at the bottom of the page. 

Keep well,
The Lower Hume PCP team

Service updates 

The National Psychosocial Support Measure (NPSM) is a community-based mental health support for participants residing in the  Mitchell, Murrindindi, Greater Shepparton, Moira, and Strathbogie shires. 
Wellways offer one to one and group activities that support recovery for people with enduring mental illness. The program aims to support participants to: 
  • learn or build life skills (routine Development, looking after the home, catching transport, budgeting, healthy eating). 
  • create connections to other supports (General practitioner, psychologist, physio etc). 
  • explore eligibility to access the NDIS and support to apply if appropriate. 
  • facilitate linkages with employment and or education. 
  • promote social inclusion through community groups or sporting clubs. 

To be eligible for support through the NPSM program you must: 

  • Be experiencing mental health issues. 
  • Be 18 years or older. 
  • Not have an active NDIS plan. 

A referral can be completed by a support agency or by the individual wishing to receive the support. The program is voluntary and aims to support individuals for up to 3 months with an opportunity for review. 
The program provides a broad range of support depending on the participants wants and needs. The program supports the individual to create a goal plan and a support worker will help to break down the goals and support the participant to achieve them. 
COVID-19 - In response to the Pandemic, supports are no longer being offered face to face unless deemed essential. Where possible video conferencing will be used along with phone support. Frequency of support is determined by the participants needs and wants. 
If you have any potential referrals you wish to discuss please do not hesitate to contact Christie 
Referrals can be emailed directly to 

Child FIRST 
Child FIRST is an easily accessible, community-based point of entry for children, young people and families needing support.
Even though FamilyCare’s offices are currently closed to visitors, they are still available to provide support and intend to stay that way throughout the pandemic. Please call the Child FIRST numbers and we will direct you to the most appropriate option at the moment. 
Child FIRST Shepparton 1300 854 944 
Child FIRST Seymour 1800 663 107 
If you have concerns about a child's immediate safety or wellbeing, call Child Protection on 1800 650 227 Monday to Friday 8:45 am to 5:00 pm or 131 278 After Hours. 

Health & community sector news / resources  

A Practical Guide to Video Mental Health Consultation 
A Practical Guide to Video Mental Health Consultation – Swinburne University of Technology. 

Legal help for community organisations
Justice Connect has created a range of initiatives to respond to COVID-19 issues. They’re providing legal help to people and community organisations affected by the pandemic. They have free resources and webinars on issues not-for-profit are facing, including managing contractual obligations, holding meetings and navigating employment challenges. 

Volunteering Victoria COVID-19 Support for Organisations 
The volunteers who are already engaged with your organization remain a vital resource as you navigate these unusual circumstances and, as such, deserve some thoughtful strategizing around how to leverage their skills while also protecting them physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

Sector and government COVID-19 response group formed 
In these tough and unique times, VCOSS and DHHS will be convening a special fortnightly meeting of community sector peak bodies and government representatives. This group, officially called the HSHPIC COVID-19 Response Group, will strengthen engagement and planning around COVID-19. 
 A summary of the discussions will be sent to sector leaders after each meeting. 

COVID-19 Issues Alerts 
VCOSS has now released five Issues Alerts, designed to help inform public discussion and guide government action on policy issues relating to the Coronavirus crisis:   

  1. Confronting family violence during lockdown. April 16th.   

  1. Energy hardship with everybody at home. April 15th.   

  1. Household lockdown for diverse households. April 13th.   

  1. Six things to think about as we (rightly) ban evictions March 31st.   

  2. Eight things to consider as we shut schools.  March 22nd. 

The Federal Health Department has released a formal Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability during COVID-19. The plan  provides high-level guidance on a range of factors that need to be considered in managing and preventing the transmission of COVID-19 for people with disability. 

The Australian Alliance for Social Enterprise (TAASE) at the University of South Australia is mapping current demands and 'pressure points' facing the community sector as we respond to the spread of COVID-19. The data gathered will be used for rapid advocacy. Access the first snapshot 

The Senate has established a cross-party committee to scrutinise Australia's response to COVID-19. The Committee has begun accepting submissions on any matter relating to this broad topic. Read more

Temporary changes to signing of NDSS forms 
During the COVID-19 pandemic, people with diabetes no longer need to sign some of the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) forms to access services and diabetes products. Health professionals are able to complete forms without the need for co-signing by the person with diabetes. This temporary change includes: 

NDSS Registration form. 

Medication Change form.

Continuous and Flash Glucose Monitoring Eligibility Assessment forms. 

Insulin Pump Consumable Assessment form. . 

Mental Health 

For the kids
Sesame Street and Headspace have joined forces to create "Monster Meditations," kid-specific mindfulness content designed to teach the basics of mindfulness, meditation, and juggling emotions.  
You can watch the first short, in which Cookie Monster learns some techniques for improving his patience (I knew he could!), here

You’re not alone, find a group today 
Don’t let the pandemic leave you isolated, stressed or anxious. 
To assist people through social isolation, lost employment and other impacts of the COVID-19 virus to connect with their broader community, Grow Australia have opened additional online eGrow support groups. 
To support the wider community, Grow Australia is introducing ‘Growing Resilience’ – a two week module based program specifically designed to provide immediate assistance to those struggling with their mental health in this crisis. 

‘Coping with coronavirus’ webinar series 
Prevention United is offering free webinars to help people cope with the stress and anxiety caused by coronavirus. 
These 1-hour sessions provide an overview of the mental health impacts of coronavirus and provide practical advice on how to protect your mental wellbeing. 

Look after your mental health during Coronavirus Easy English Resource 
The Council for Intellectual Disability has developed an easy english guide to looking after your mental health 

Chronic Illness 

Being prepared during pandemics 
People with diabetes can face additional health challenges – especially in emergencies like pandemics. This is why it’s important to Be Prepared.  
Click here for tips on how to be prepared during pandemics.

Support for people with diabetes 
The NDSS helpline 1800 637 700 has extended its hours - from 8.30am to 8pm Monday to Friday and from 9am to 2pm on Saturday - to give greater support for people with diabetes during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Family Violence / Gender Equity 

CENTRELINK CRISIS PAYMENT CLAIMS for customers impacted by domestic violence during these unprecedented times
Phone lines remain open and customers are encouraged to call on 132 850, or their usual payment contact numbers, to discuss their intent to claim Crisis Payment  

Victoria police respond to family violence risk during 'very stressful time' of coronavirus 
A new taskforce called Operation Ribbon will keep police in contact with high-risk perpetrators and their victims 

COVID LGBTIQ+ resources 
The LGBTIQ+ family violence support service WithRespect has launched a new 'COVID-19 and Family Violence for LGBTIQ+ people' resources page.  
It includes information about access to key services and supports, resources and tips on safety planning.  
You can access the site here


Aboriginal & Torress Strait Islander

HealthInfoNet COVID-19 resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities 
HealthInfoNet now have a section on their website designed to keep community updated with the latest information available on Coronavirus (COVID-19).  

Aboriginal Health TV 
Aboriginal Health TV have 70 plus COVID-19 aboriginal specific video downloads to choose from.  

Healthy Eating & Physical Activity

Food Relief
The Red Cross are the State endorsed provider of food and essential supplies for people in mandatory self-isolation (those that have been diagnosed with Covid 19 or have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with Covid 19). You can access this support through 1800 733 276
Local Councils are supporting all other people who are experiencing financial hardship or difficulty accessing supplies in non-mandatory self-isolation (those that due to their vulnerability, age or health issues are isolating). Councils will provide support to access relief packages (either paid for by themselves through local supermarkets or through community support services such as foodbanks) including assistance with delivery of relief packages
People are encouraged to reach out for support through family, friends and community connections in the first instance and if this is not possible they can contact their local Council:

  • Mitchell Shire Council - 03 5734 6200
  • Murrindindi Shire Council - 03 5772 0333


COVID-19 Community Services Digital Forum 
VCOSS and the Department of Health and Human Services are running a second information forum about the ongoing sector response to COVID-19. 
This digital-only forum will be held at 12:30pm on Wednesday 29 April. For more information or to register

Online Diabetes Symposium
Diabetes Victoria in collaboration with the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute is hosting this year's Diabetes Symposium online. This year's theme is 'Real World Diabetes: evidence to practice'. The online symposium will be held on Friday 8 May from 9am - 1.30 pm. 

Adapting to new ways of working
Fifty Acres is hosting a diverse range of events to ensure that organisations can make the most of their communications and stakeholder outreach. 

Getting Started with Zoom Meetings 
Ready to start using Zoom, but need some help? Drop-in for the daily (Mon-Fri) quick starts! A Zoom expert will take you through a 30-minute high-level tour of Zoom and cover the basics to get you up and running. It’s as simple as logging in, scheduling a meeting, and finding the controls. Start Zooming today! Stick around to get all your burning questions answered through live Q&A! For more information or to register

Systems Methods for Systems Change series  

In this series of virtual learning sessions, Dr. Fiona Mckenzie, director of Orange Compass, and Dr. Seanna Davidson, director of The Systems School, have joined forces to teach a suite of systems methods aligned with each aspect of The Systems Change Framework.  These sessions will run Wednesdays from 11:000am to 12:00pm via Zoom, with the first one starting May 6th. Weekly topics include: 

  • Introduction of The Systems Change Framework. 

  • Systems Practice. 

  • Purposeful engagment.  

  • Reflect, Learn, Adapt.  

  • Define Situation. 

  • Gain Clarity. 

  • Find Leverage. 

  • Act Strategically. 

  • Ask Me Anything.  

Click here to register and for more informtion regarding session prices. 


COVID-19 updates 
Information, updates and advice from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)  about the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Auslan Updates 
Expression Australia are providing regular Auslan only video updates accompanied by a English text summary 

New Victorian modelling
The Victorian Government in collaboration with Monash University and the Doherty Institute, has released modelling to provide greater understanding of the spread of coronavirus in Victoria. 
The modelling shows that, without the current restrictive measures, Victoria was on-track to record up to 58,000 cases, with 650 deaths per day at the peak of the outbreak. The scenarios demonstrate the very real need for Victoria to maintain our current measures. 
Click here to view a summary of the modelling (PDF) and click here to read the detailed analysis behind the modelling. 

Elective surgery resuming

Victoria’s public and private hospitals will begin doing more elective surgeries from this week. Category 2 and some category 3 elective surgeries will gradually resume from 27 April 2020
Surgeries that will be allowed include IVF procedures, post-cancer reconstruction procedures, eye procedures and cataracts, endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures, some dental procedures, joint replacements including knee, hip and shoulder and screening programs for cancer and other diseases. It also includes all procedures for children under the age of 18. 
The Department of Health and Human Services is working with health services and staff in both the private and public systems to assess their surgical capacity and ability to increase procedures, when it is safe to do so. 
Upon reopening, priority will be given to the patients of highest need, based on surgical advice of the hospital where the surgery is scheduled. Elective surgery patients should not call their hospitals but should wait until the hospital notifies them. 

Keep the rate!? 
When COVID-19 began forcing large numbers of people out of work, the Federal Government quickly doubled Newstart. 
This was a tacit acknowledgment that the previous rate of $40 per day was too low. But this generosity is only due to last six months, at which point the government wants Newstart to 'snap back' to the lower, meaner rate which actively traps people in poverty. 
The team at Raise The Rate are asking you to contact your local MPs and urge them to make the higher payment permanent.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) and your rights 
Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) sets out rights and responsibilities in areas they are receiving increased enquiries about 

Translated Coronavirus resources 
Health Translations is an online library which enables health practitioners and those working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities to easily find free translated health information.

Claiming Centrelink during COVID-19  
Navigating Centrelink can be confusing at the best of times. Economic Justice Australia has produced a fact sheet with specific information on how to claim a Centrelink payment during COVID-19.  

COVID-19 making financial decisions: Steps to look after yourself and your money 
During challenging times, making financial decisions can feel overwhelming. There's support and services available to help you. 

What is telehealth? 
A resource to support services to assist their clients in the transition to Telehealth services, using the Health Direct platform. .

Taking care of yourself in isolation (older people) 
enliven is developing resources to assist community members (particularly older people and those with disabilities) to maintain their health and wellbeing during isolation. .

The open source online graphics website Canva has released a series of free COVID-19 related images and design templates for organisations. Learn more. 

Facilitation for Virtual Collaborations 
The Systems School have launched a new service to support others in the transition to hosting meaningful online meetings and workshops. 
In this service they can support you to: 

  • explore how to transition your collaborative work into online activities. 

  • identify and design a collaboration strategy that balance in real time events with asynchronous collaboration.  

  • identify online platforms and software appropriate to the task and support you in their application. 

  • design and facilitate in real time collaborative engagement sessions. . 

Mindset hack 
Watch this mindset hack from Clare Desira, about what to do when your colleagues or loved ones are "grinding your gears" even harder than normal during these challenging times. (Pro Bono News). . 

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