Three out of five Australians are feeling drained by the ongoing restrictions and uncertainty caused by Covid-19, according to new research from Mainstreet Insights. “Covid is a strain on the Australian psyche, and a strain on Australian families,” says co-founder Dr Lindsay McMillan.
Dr McMillan is an academic and thought leader in human resources and has received an Order of Australia medal for his services to people with disabilities. Talking to Neil Johnson on Vision’s 20Twenty, he outlined a range of reasons why the pandemic was presenting unique challenges to our typical Australian sense of optimism.
The most obvious consequences of the crisis are of course the health aspect – losing, or potentially losing, a loved one to the virus, and the economic – losing your job. But Dr McMillan says these are just two elements of the pandemic’s broader impact, and its reaching people in ways which aren’t easily summed up in facts and figures.
As just one example, the traditional roles we’ve held in our household have gone through a complete shakeup. “You can be a mother, a father, a worker, a provider, an in-home schoolteacher, a carer, and there’s no boundaries to that. There’s no beginning or end of that. It all happens within the boundaries of your home. And that’s put some strain on relationships.”
Dr McMillan points out that when you hear about Qantas laying off 20 thousand workers, that’s around 20 thousand families who’ll be suffering not just the economic, but the social consequences of new unemployment. “So I think there’s a range of challenges that are emerging, that we as a country have to deal with, over and above the 6 o’clock news, that’s really focused on numbers, and the economy, and jobs.”
But the silver lining to this cloud is that it’s inspiring Australians to consider the big issues. Dr McMillan says historically, in times of crisis, Church attendance has increased. And right now, we’re certainly living through just that kind of crisis.
“Interestingly, and encouragingly, our research found that people are actually looking at things of greater purpose and meaning. There’s an increase of Australians praying. There’s an increase in people considering Church more. There’s an increase in people thinking about their own purpose and their own meaning, their reason for being.”
“And that’s among younger generations more so than older generations, and more so amongst younger females. And I think the good news story here is that churches are actually hearing that people are responding more.”
Listen to the podcast of Dr McMillan’s conversation with Neil Johnson for much more about how people are reaching out, and churches are growing, during the pandemic, and the massive difference hope can make.
Tune into 20Twenty and join the conversation with Neil Johnson, weekdays on Vision Christian Radio. Click here for your local times.