7 Apr 2020

Covid-19: Government launches mental health support tools

6:48 am on 7 April 2020

Support is being rolled out for New Zealanders struggling with their mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Generic stressed worker

A stressed worker. File photo. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Health Minister David Clark said the campaign and tools launched today aimed to give some relief to people feeling distressed and worried about the future.

"We want people to know that they are not alone, and many Kiwis will be feeling this way. This is completely normal and the messages in the campaign launched today tell us that it's okay not to feel all right all of the time," Dr Clark said.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre

One initiative is the 'Getting through together campaign' which shares coping mechanisms and provides support for parents to talk with their primary school-aged children about their own mental health.

"The campaign has been developed by All Right? which produced the world-leading disaster-recovery programme following the Canterbury earthquakes, in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation," Dr Clark said.

Doctors are still available for those who prefer to speak with someone familiar.

"It's important to remember that a lot of the usual places people might go to for support, like your doctor, are still available. It might just be a phone call or an online video link instead.

"I am also critically aware of the impact that Covid-19 is having on our frontline health workers. Many of the employers provide mental health support for their staff, and the government is looking at what additional support is needed for our health workforce."

Further support, including telephone, an app, and online resources would be announced this week, he said, including resources designed specifically for Māori, Pasifika, the elderly, the vulnerable and new mothers.

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