We recently sent out an interim survey to Growers to understand a little more about how they were feeling during the pandemic and how they were using eGrow. The eGrow survey was developed to gain understanding of the mental health impacts of COVID-19 on the GROW community and the effectiveness of the rapid shift from face-to-face to eGrow groups. The survey was live for two weeks and completed by 210 respondents – a good response and statistically valid.

More than nine out of every 10 people participating in GROW peer to peer support groups online report the pandemic has impacted on their mental health and wellbeing.

A third of participants stated that their overall mental wellbeing had been impacted “A great deal” or “A lot”, while two thirds said they had been impacted “A moderate amount” or “A little.”

When we asked about their relationships with others, 38 percent said their relationships had been impacted “A great deal” or “A lot”, while more than 50 percent said relationships had been impacted “A moderate amount” or “A little.”

It was interesting to see the impact of social isolation on Growers’ mental wellbeing with more than half answering that they had felt lonely, nervous, overwhelmed, uncertain and tired for no good reason. Almost a third of people stated they felt “a lot” more anxious and almost a quarter stated they felt “a lot” more depressed.

When COVID-19 required us to stop face-to-face peer group meetings across Australia, we rapidly switched to eGrow meetings and provided technical support to people on how to participate via video.

As we’ve seen across Australia, some groups went into hibernation, and some people simply couldn’t or wouldn’t meet online, but generally it was very positive to see the large number of people who adapted so quickly.

In many cases, participation in our Grow groups may be the most structured event in people’s lives, and hence their desire to maintain that connection online, to counter uncertainty, isolation and loneliness.

Where we can, we’re now transition our groups back to face-to-face – this is dependent on the Government regulations in each state and territory, and the willingness of our groups. As always, the safety of our Growers and our staff is of the utmost importance.

You can view a summary of the results here.