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Welcome to iThink: Responding to COVID-19 coronavirus

Posted by The iThink Team (Admin) 3 months ago

Welcome to iThink (WA Public Sector) — an online ideas community supporting the Western Australian Government’s response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

iThink was initially launched for the WA public sector in late 2019, giving our 140,000 staff the opportunity to contribute ideas to make our workplaces even better. With the support of the Deputy Premier and Health Minister Roger Cook, and innovative and highly respected surgeon and researcher Professor Fiona Wood AM, iThink was recently opened to those outside the public sector to harness the ideas and expertise of everyone in the Western Australian community.

Since iThink opened on 6 April 2020 we have received:

  • 171 ideas
  • 140 comments responding to these ideas
  • 625 votes cast in support of these ideas
  • 12,830 page views.

The ideas you have shared are already being considered by subject matter experts at state government agencies including the Department of Health, the Department of Finance and the Department of Communities.

In addition, organisations including the City of Canning, RAC, Western Power, HBF, Australian Institute of Management, WA Data Science Innovation Hub and the Fiona Wood Foundation have joined forces to establish an Innovation Hub which will explore how ideas can become reality and help tackle the challenges of the pandemic.

We will be blogging regularly to keep you all updated on how ideas are progressing and being actioned.

We encourage you to spread the word about iThink with your colleagues, friends and family. You can share the link by selecting a social media icon on the left hand side of your screen.

Thank you for supporting iThink and the WA Government’s response to COVID-19 coronavirus. We look forward to continuing to see the bright ideas and comments come in.

Together, we can make a difference.

-The iThink Team

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Comments (2)

Rachel Green says... 2 months ago

Big push for mental health from the Government today but there was too much focus on mental illness - the severe issues such as suicide and domestic violence. We are looking at it from the wrong end. Let's talk about what happens before then - the normal rush of emotions people are feeling and how to handle them, and please don't only tell us to eat well and exercise, there is so much more to emotional management than that. 

What people need is to be supported in learning how to understand and manage their emotions. It is about our emotions. 

We need to increase the emotional literacy and emotional competence of us all. Aussies are trying to drink and eat their emotions away en masse, why? because they don't know what else to do with them, or they feel so bad having them.

 
We need to help people learn how to recognise, accept, acknowledge and identify our emotions without guilt, e.g. sadness, anxiety, tension, resentment, overwhelm, loneliness, anger, resentment, guilt, fear, boredom and more ... and then how to not become overwhelmed or frightened of them, how to know what messages they are sending, how to reason with them and influence them, and then how to process and move through them. There are lots of techniques available. Please! 
 
Then the more severe issues will diminish and our resilience will increase. Let's talk emotions and name them. "Name it to tame it" is a slogan used by Dr Dan Siegel and there is brain research that shows naming the emotions reduces the reactivity in the brain.
 
Our emotions drive our behaviour, the science is there to prove that. I'll give you some concrete examples as it relates to Covid-19.
 
If someone is feeling embarrassed and they don't know how to process embarrassment they may never reach out to talk to someone, we need to help them with their emotion. Just telling them to go and call Lifeline won't hack it.
 
If someone is bored and they don't know how to handle boredom then they may go and become involved in risky behaviours, we need to help them understand and process boredom. Just telling them not to become involved in risky behaviour won't stop them. 
 
If someone is sad but they have a strong belief that they are cracking up (Aussies say people who cry have "broken down" - awful language for a normal emotional reaction). Therefore they may hold back and suppress tears and become sadder and more despondent.
 
Please talk about emotions and talk about how to handle them - beyond the restricted ideas so far mentioned. Thank you for listening to my rant! I am feeling frustrated!
 
Five relevant resources:
1. Professor Marc Brackett - top global authority on emotions - has a book "Permission to feel."
2. William Bridges book on "Transitions" Is an eye opener on the emotions that people go through and why during change.
3. Professor Con Stough and his team are the top Australian researchers into children's emotions and have resources for parents, teachers and children: Aristotle-EI.
4+5 Two top articles that help people understand what they are going through now emotionally in isolation and may go through when they go back to work. The more people understand the less worried they may be by their reactions.
Julie Stephens says... 2 months ago

I am a co owner of a travel agency in Perth and our industry was first hit early March and now that what we sell has been grounded literally and international flights will not really be operating until 2021 and the uncertainty COVID19 has put into clients minds our industry will be the last to recover and I anticipate even 18 months down the track our sales will not be back to be where we were at.

As a result of COVID19 my travel agency business has had its sales reduced by 99%. As a small business two owners in partnership one of us is on Job Keeper and the other Job Seeker and although grateful  we are thousands of dollars short of our personal bills per month and with no help for the business are left to run the business on a couple of hundred dollars we may possibly make a month. This is definitely impossible  with running bills we can not get out of to continue to operate. Sole Traders/Partnerships definetly also need cash flow to keep the business operating. If we can not continue to operate not only does our business go under but all our clients credits and refunds due to cancellations from COVID19 will become null and void and many very unhappy clients to say the least. To date for the business our only option is to take out a loan to go further in debt or take our super which is another option to further penalise us due to a global pandemic that is no fault of our own and just bescause we are a partnership and do not employee anyone we can not acess any stimulus grants.

 I am  a single mother who is on the verge of loosing my business due to the continuing restrictions on travel that has quite frankly left this industry in a complete mess. I am also forced to sell my house and most likely it will sell for $20 -50 k short of the mortgage loan. I have asked Bankwest to look at my case as how can I after loosing a business & a house be expected to have a loan for the shortfall while most likely still being on Job Seeker in this depressed economic  environment. I thought out of duty of care and a global pandemic that there would be some help put into place by the government and banks to avoid even further financial stress on the consumer let alone mental and physical stress. I currently have my mortgage on hold for 6 months which is just a band aid for now and is actually increasing the loan due to the accumulating so in effect Bankwest are making more from me while I am down. Mortgage insurance although I am paying is of no use to me in such times but just helping the bank even though I am paying for it. If here is a short fall then I have to pay back QBE the insurer. And if we look at the big scheme of things even with a shortfall of $50k the bank on a $530, 000 loan would have received $680,000 so $150,000 from the interest instead of $200, 000, is that not enough in such times rather than an individual being houseless AND $50k in debt?   

 Has the government looked ahead at such scenarios? I keep hearing we are in this together but it does not feel like that to be honest.

 I hope the government is looking at putting some strategies in place to compensate the individual forced into a corner and I look forward to hopefully getting a reply this time during these busy times.

And then to hear the lastest idea is to give money for those who still have a house to renovate is a further kick in the stomach, why are we not helping those in need before we give stimulus for improvements?

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