Over 400 volunteers. 200 days and counting. And 100,000+ phone calls.
These numbers tell part of the story – but they don’t speak to the tears and laughter shared between our Queensland volunteers and the people they’ve been speaking to in hotel quarantine. They don’t tell us about the emotional impact of being separated from family, friends and fresh air. Some conversations are happy, some are angry, many are life-changing and all of them have left their mark on our volunteers.
“It’s been very rewarding, it’s been exhausting, but it’s very special to be in a position where you know the work you are doing is helping people.”
As part of the support Red Cross has been providing people impacted by COVID-19 around the country, volunteers have been making check-in calls to those in hotel quarantine to see how people are coping and provide psychological first aid where needed.
They’ve spoken to people travelling to funerals, to care for sick family members, to escape unsafe living situations. People travelling to join family in other parts of the country to be together during the pandemic, those coming home from overseas military service for the first time in months, and one person who was keeping her return home a secret to give her family and friends a happy surprise at the end of the 14 days.
“The pandemic has made me see how important it is for individuals to feel connected to their community.” – Molly
It’s difficult to understand how hard hotel quarantine is unless you’ve been through it. Most don’t have access to fresh air, there’s no choice in food and basic decisions like when to eat are regulated.
Whilst everyone understands why it’s important and necessary to do this to beat COVID-19, the impact on someone’s health can be immense, with many people reporting that they’re experiencing anxiety for the first time, and those with existing mental health conditions saying that the quarantine conditions have exacerbated them. People are worried about their families, their own health and what will happen after they leave quarantine.