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COVID-19 mental health support begins

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A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19.

“COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or worry about the future,” says Health Minister David Clark.

“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."

One initiative launched today is the Getting through together campaign which shares ways to help Kiwis cope with the stress of COVID-19.

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

Getting through together also includes tools for parents, dubbed Sparklers at Home, which provides support for parents to talk with their primary-school aged children about their own mental health and wellbeing.

“The original Sparklers initiative has been hugely successful at supporting and promoting the wellbeing of young Cantabrians following the Canterbury earthquakes, so I’m pleased to see that this has been extended to help all Kiwi parents with their tamariki.

“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 supports are being finalised and will be announced this week. This includes telephone support as well as app and online resources and supports.

Specific information and mental health support campaigns are also being designed for Māori, Pacific, older people, people with chronic health conditions or compromised immunity and new mothers.

All Right? was designed in partnership with Canterbury DHB and the Mental Health Foundation.

Campaign links and information

Getting through together: www.allright.org.nz/campaigns/getting-through-together

Sparklers at home: www.sparklers.org.nz/parenting

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