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Remembering and recovering from COVID-19: Multicultural experiences in Melbourne during the pandemic

COVID-19 Pandemics CALD Multiculturalism Social cohesion Social connection Melbourne

This project sought to understand the unique effects COVID-19 and associated restrictions have had on multicultural communities in Melbourne, especially in relation to their social connections. Partnering with Merri-bek City Council and Lendlease Victoria to conduct the qualitative project, the research involved surveys and focus groups with multicultural communities across Melbourne.

Findings demonstrate high rates of frontline workers, reduced access to education and employment, geographic separation from family and mental health taboos all led to elevated experiences with grief, trauma and distress. However, social activities provided a promising option for community-led recovery, highlighting the importance of social connection for multicultural communities in the wake of the pandemic.

Key findings:

  • Culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CALD) communities faced unique pandemic challenges which led to higher levels of grief, trauma, and stress.
  • Multicultural communities have high rates of frontline workers. Frontline workers and their spouses experienced intense working environments, information overload, and mental health issues during the pandemic.
  • New parents felt isolated and were especially anxious about the risks of catching COVID-19. Parents of multiple children were stretched to their limits resulting in reduced school attendance - something which continues today.
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