Community service organisation Ngala is encouraging WA families to take part in an international world first study into the effects of COVID-19 on family life.

The study, spearheaded by the Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Doha, will survey parents in 40 countries across five continents in collaboration with 13 international partners, including Ngala.

Parents of children between 0-18 years old are encouraged to take the anonymous 30 minute online survey, which asks questions about family life, overall wellbeing, relationships and coping strategies during COVID-19.

Ngala has provided input into this important world-wide research by providing cultural recommendations and advice relating to Australia.

Ngala CEO Fiona Beermier said organisations around the globe will use the results of the survey to inform the design of policies and programs and the delivery of services to families.

“All of the supports and programs delivered by Ngala are backed by evidence and research, and we will take the learnings from this study to inform our work in the future where appropriate” she said.

“Ngala is proud to be working with our international partners on this platform of research, which will contribute to the best outcomes for not just West Australians, but our global community of families.”

The survey will enable researchers to understand the experiences of both parents and children during COVID, track patterns of symptoms, causes, and risk factors of mental health in parents, understand coping skills of parents, and identify parents’ needs for support services during the pandemic.

Ms Beermier said Ngala adapted many of its services across the state during COVID-19 to continue to provide support during the pandemic.

“Ngala created service delivery and support options which were not just reliant on digital outputs; we also quickly pivoted by creating closed Facebook groups, online meeting rooms and virtual parenting programs,” she said.

“Our teams also delivered customised supports by hand delivering activity packs, and hosted online activities like playgroups, teddy bear picnics and story time readings.

“During the crisis, our Residential Parenting Service continued with our Day Stay program at our private hospital in Kensington, supporting parents and their children during a very extraordinary and high stress period.”