“It’s terrifying,” Laura Csortan tells marie claire Australia.
“If I get sick and go down with it; if I get sick and go down with anything when I’ve got no physical contact or communication with anyone, I’ve got a little girl who will literally have to lay in a hospital bed with me because I’ve got no one to look after her.”
The travel and lifestyle presenter, who lives in Sydney’s eastern suburbs with her three-year-old daughter Layla, is one of thousands of single parents currently facing this scenario.
“I’ve got no family here, my mother is in South Australia and the border is closed so I couldn’t get her here even if I wanted,” she adds.
“It would just be an absolute frigging disaster.”
Losing a single income, having family interstate or overseas and worrying about putting elderly relatives at risk if they need help with childminding are just some of the issues facing single parents right now.
Nancy Sokarno, a psychologist for mental telehealth service Lysn, says many single parents were feeling a lot of guilt as a result of the current circumstances.
The mental health service has seen a 48 per cent surge in bookings since the COVID-19 crisis began.
“I’m seeing this with clients almost every day,” she says. “They’re feeling guilt about not being able to manage finances and feeling as though they’re caring for their kids enough.
“But at the end of the day, if you put food on the table and have shelter for your child and a warm place for them to sleep, you’re doing the best you can as a parent.”
Ms Sokarno says virtual check-ins with friends who are raising children on their own was a good way to show support even if you can’t see them physically.
“Turning on FaceTime or Zoom and just cooking dinner and chatting about what they’re doing tonight and letting the kids interact and entertain each other is a really effective way to check in,” she says.
She also says counselling or mental health support is a good option for single parents who are struggling emotionally right now.
“A lot of psychologists right now are doing tele-health so you don’t need to go into clinic,” she says.
“You just need to get a mental healthcare plan referral from your GP and the COVID-19 response phone consultations are actually bulk billed, so you don’t need to be out of pocket.”