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Mums living in Victoria had the worst mental health decline in Australia during the 2020 Covid lockdowns, new research has discovered.

While the research found that there was no negative impact for single mums during the lockdowns, women in couples with children under 15 had the most severe impact on their mental health.

The University of Melbourne study analysed 151,583 observations from 20,839 Australians from 2011 to the first period of 2020. It compared two groups – people who were in lockdowns during 2020 and those who were relatively free of restrictions.

Study spotlights inequality in household duties

Study co-author Professor Mark Wooden said the research showed how lockdowns can amplify exisiting inequalities in who is responsible for household and parenting duties.

“If lockdowns and other policies intended to restrict population movement are to remain part of the policy toolkit for responding to pandemics, more attention needs to be given to providing support to alleviate the potential negative side-effects, including for example, focusing on equitably delivering childcare services and schooling,” Professor Wooden said.

“Further research is also needed into the potential modifying role that environmental factors, such as housing and access to outdoor space, might have on the psychological effects of lockdowns.”

The research found that the mental health effects were greater in those with a higher income. But that there was no evidence of mental health impacts for teens aged between 15 and 19 years.

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  • Lockdown was horrific, particularly when we didn’t even have childcare available. I definitely agree it impacts on Mums more (from my experience anyway) plus it’s our natural instinct to step in and take on the mental load more

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  • I agree! I work from home 3 days a week and make sure I venture out on those 2 other days for appointments etc. I found everyone in my space and I could not get away from anyone. My life was most impacted, I believe.

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  • Lockdowns killed my self esteem and my personal space!

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  • Sure, my husband continued working as usual and I stayed home with the kids trying to do home learning. I’ve 2 kids with special needs and my youngest was hard to motivate. It was dramas. I’m a mum, not a teacher

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  • Lockdown affected many people. We are mainly social beings, hence the hard time to isolate.

    As a mum I found it hard to explain to my youngest why we needed to stay home and no socialise.

    When the media promotes the you get covid you die message, when you get delta that’s what your child thinks, their mum is going to die

    This has been the worst couple of years of my life.

    Though I am very proud of my youngest and her resilience and positivity when I’ve had the dreaded virus twice in 6 months and she’s thriving. I’m not sure that we will have a “normal” life but I am trying to keep it as normal as possible

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  • Lockdowns sucked! Hubby didn’t notice much as he still worked in person and drove more than 5km. Biggest thing for him was we couldn’t see others/have them over where as I struggled with the kids big time with online learning and having people home all the time.

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  • I’m married with 4 kids under 15 and I actually didn’t mind lockdown. It was quite nice to be able to focus on my own little family without worrying about outside obligations and expectations for a while.

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  • I can see that, with the mental load already on mums this makes sense

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  • I think thats just a given! Mums already do so much

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  • Honestly I took advantage of the lockdowns to try spend more quality time with my kids. Besides that I’m sure the lockdowns affected everyone’s mental health in some way.

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  • I think it would depend on where you live in the city or country. In the country areas you have more room to move around on your property but in the city your basically inside the home. Hopefully we have all learned what we can and can’t do and will remember this in case it happens again in the future

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  • Unfortunately because of cost of living usually both parents have to work, rather than previous traditions of the mum staying at home to raise the children. I think because of this, mums have had to sacrifice staying home and raising their children and have been set in a working family routine, but being locked down has taken away the breaks in parenting they would usually have, and access to their independent incomes from working relying on the working parents income. I think the mums would be struggling to cope at home with their children, as it is more hands on and mentally draining 24/7 than if the kids had been at school.

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  • Why am I not surprised? Throughout the ages the nurturing has always been left to the women. Ans so thus it has happened yet again. I mainly feel sorry for the children this time around as they have never learned the subtle art of being grown up and aware of what happens.

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  • “………………..there was no evidence of mental health impacts for teens aged between 15 and 19 years.”
    Mmmmmm I had two in this age group and I beg to differ with the findings in this research.

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  • I so wholeheartedly agree with that

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