SPEECH

The mental health impacts of COVID are well-known, and one of the most powerful ways we can address that is through simple acts of kindness.

Kindness is known to increase self-esteem, empathy, compassion and improve mood.

Throughout this long pandemic, the kindness I’ve seen and the frustration of those wanting to provide kindness but who could not, was very moving.

I want to acknowledge the professional mental health workers on the coal face at Albury-Wodonga Health, Gateway Health, GP practices, nurses, psychologists and counsellors, who do their work with kindness.

I also want to acknowledge the neighbours helping neighbours, the families and community groups finding new ways to connect, the food shares, the kids setting up their postbox libraries and writing letters to the elderly with kindness.

I also acknowledge the businesses who face their customers with care and kindness and those who wish they could but restrictions did not allow them to, businesses like Genesis Health and Fitness in Wodonga, with 3,000 members on its books, including many with disabilities who rely on exercise for their mental health. Owner Janene Schubert has been inundated with anxious members desperate to exercise but unable to, and she helped them with such kindness.

There are many gyms, fitness studios and businesses who are in this situation, and today I acknowledge the kindness shown right throughout Indi and the intent, and I thank them all for their humanity throughout these difficult times.

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