What is your name and job title?
My name is Dr. McCracken, and I'm a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Allambi.
How did you fend off cabin fever during isolation?
One of the main things I've been doing to fend off cabin fever, is cooking and consuming more food. It's been a happy event, I've been doing loads of cooking with my thirteen year old daughter. We've been making cakes and doing lots of baked dinners, and getting into the recipe books and pulling out some things we haven't done before, but it has taken a toll on my waistline, which I have to say, I've been trying to address by doing a whole lot more walking. I've been getting off the track and walking through the local bush in my area. And I started doing a whole lot more gardening and I've been planting and planting and planting trees and a whole lot of other flowering native plants. I like getting my fingernails dirty.
What has been the most challenging thing about working from home?
One of the difficult things for me in being working from home was when
my kids were at home as well. There was one time when I was on a really intense group meeting with DCJ and a whole lot of other services, and just a few minutes after the meeting started, my nine year old started practising trumpet, and a few minutes after that, my thirteen year old started practicing her drums.
Everyone laughed, because they understood. But yeah, that was one of those times.
What has the experience taught you about the Allambi Care team?
I think one of the things that this has taught me is how close the relationships between all the different parts of Allambi are, and how supportive and important those relationships are for me to be able to do my job, which often involves hearing stories that are pretty disturbing. The personal support from the relationships around me, right here in the clinical team, at the hot water urn down at the cafe, in the car park... those relationships really make a difference and I've missed that, I really missed having that around.
Some of the particular challenges that, that a lot of the kids are faced by, really overlap with what I've just said, and that's missing relationships.
Kids who are in care already have fractured relationships in most cases, and so, missing school, teachers, friends, the familiar people in their lives, their family, carers, all of that has been, incredibly challenging through the lockdown.
Also the sense of uncertainty, which has impacted adults, but it's that much more, frightening and destabilising for kids.
I have to say how uplifted and amazed I've been at how resilient the kids are, just absolutely incredible.
And in a lot cases kids have really risen to the challenge and done so much better in their home. It's been impressive.