Mental Health & Addiction Update - 14 April 2020

on 17 April

Mental Health & Addiction Update

Kia ora whānau

Robyn Shearer - DDG Mental Health & Addiction

I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend, stayed in your bubbles and had a ‘staycation’ at home. Having been in Alert Level 4 lockdown for over two weeks now, I know that all of us are having some good days and some not so good days – and that’s completely normal.

We are all struggling with the psychosocial impact of COVID-19 to various degrees. During a crisis we need connection more than ever, so we need to find ways to connect while maintaining physical distance.

With that in mind, my team continues to work at pace on putting in place mental health and wellbeing information, tools and supports for all New Zealanders that they can access remotely.

We are also gearing up to provide some targeted support for our most at risk communities and our frontline workers, who are out there every day keeping us safe and fed.

You will have seen the announcement this morning by the Minister of Health about three new online tools that we are funding from a $15 million psychosocial response to provide a range of supports for people at whatever level they need it. These tools help bridge the physical distance gap. Find out more about the Mentemia app, Melon app and Staying on Track e-therapy course in the Minister’s announcement. I’d encourage you all to pass on links to these tools to your teams.

You can expect to hear more about the other supports as they come online over the coming weeks. This is not just about the support we need in lockdown, but as we transition from one alert level to another. As the Prime Minister said, this is a marathon, so we are putting in place supports that are flexible and can be delivered over the short to medium term.

It was great to hear the Prime Minister and Director General talk on over the weekend about being cautiously optimistic that all our efforts are delivering the outcome we’re looking for. We know that we are certainly in a better position than we would have been if we hadn’t put the measures we have in place to stamp out COVID-19 in New Zealand. This sends a really positive message, however, I know many of you will still be feeling the strain, whether you’re at the frontline, in a supporting role in the sector or part of our community.

There's quite a lot in my newsletter today - and that's because a lot has still been happening. I hope you find some of this information useful for you and your people.

Again, thank you for everything you are doing. When I hear your stories and think about how far we have come in the past couple of weeks, I feel proud to be not only a member of the health sector but also, a New Zealander.

Together, we can get through this.

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