Mental Health & Addiction Update - 3 November 2020

on 5 November




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

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


Kia ora whānau

Over the last couple of days there has been news of further restrictive measures across Europe in response to COVID-19. I feel extraordinarily grateful to be in Aotearoa at this time and so proud of how we have collectively responded, however, seeing what is happening overseas does highlight how important it is to remain vigilant with our response.

Remaining vigilant to COVID-19 means remaining vigilant about both our physical health and our mental wellbeing.

Our testing, managed isolation, and contact tracing are working well – along with good hygiene practices (hand washing, coughing into your elbow, and staying at home if you’re sick). Last week, the NZ COVID Tracer app reached the significant milestone of 100 million scans.  Scan volumes are well below the 2 million a day we saw in early September. Getting back into the habit of using the app wherever we go, is a practical way we can all help keep a step ahead of the virus. Please continue to encourage people to scan the QR codes whenever they are in the community. It only takes a couple of seconds and is an investment in our collective wellbeing.

We also need to make sure we continue to find ways to connect with others, be active, get out into nature, find ways to keep learning and to notice the things we are grateful for or that bring us joy. There is something that everyone can do to support their own mental wellbeing, and support those around them. We are all shaped by our environments and circumstances. Income, employment, housing, education, recreation, social connection, cultural identity, safe and healthy relationships, and many other factors that impact on our wellbeing. It’s going to take all of us – individuals, family and whānau, community groups, local and central government – working together to grow and enhance mental wellbeing across our communities.

Across Government, there is a significant amount of work happening to make sure our work is connected. The range of initiatives underway support employment, education, housing, and address poverty, to name a few. Over the coming weeks, I’ll share some of this work with you to give you a sense of the broad spectrum of these efforts.

Finally, I wanted to share with you a lovely wellbeing initiative at Henry Hill School in Napier. We were lucky enough to have this story shared with us and I wanted to pass it on – perhaps it might provide some inspiration for someone or a smile as we start the week?

Ngā mihi nui



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