Mental Health & Addiction Update - 16 October 2020

on 16 October




Toni Gutschlag Acting Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction

Toni Gutschlag
Acting Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction


Kia ora whānau

Happy Pink Shirt Day! Turning our workplaces, communities and schools pink is a great way to show our commitment to preventing bullying and creating a kinder, safer Aotearoa.

Pink Shirt Day is about creating a society where all people feel safe, valued and respected, regardless of age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, or cultural background. This is also key to our wellbeing.

Being treated – and treating others – with respect and aroha is important for our mental wellbeing. I’m proud to work in a place that gets behind Pink Shirt Day and encourages people to speak up if they see behaviour that is not okay.

We spend a lot of our lives at work, so having a supportive environment with good connections to our workmates makes a really big difference to our overall wellbeing.

It was also World Mental Health Day on Saturday. World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health.

Taking the time to mark these days is a great way to reflect ourselves on what we are doing ourselves to look after our mental wellbeing, especially as we grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I also wanted to take the opportunity to share some timely reminders about what we all need to be doing during Alert Level 1. As Dr Bloomfield says, 'it’s Alert Level 1, not Alert Level none.'

We know that further community cases may emerge in the future, and the risk of COVID-19 spreading in the community is much greater in lower alert levels when there are no restrictions on gatherings or going out.  As a country, we need to stay alert and all play our part.

  • If you are unwell, stay home, and seek advice from Healthline or your GP on getting a test. 
  • Please continue to keep a record of where you have been and who you have seen using the COVID Tracer app.
  • We encourage you to continue to use masks on public transport and flights, maintain physical distancing where possible when out in public, and follow stringent hygiene practices such as regularly washing and drying your hands and coughing or sneezing into your elbow.

Thank you for all that you are already doing to keep yourself and your communities safe and well.

Ngā mihi nui




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