Disruption to put pressure on mental health services

Photo: Getty
Providing sufficient Government economic support and mental health backing was important. Photo: Getty Images
Coronavrius-related disruption will also add to growing pressures on New Zealand’s mental health system, Corinda Taylor warns.

Mrs Taylor, of the Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust, said a drop in economic activity, partly linked to restrictions on tourist travel by air and cruise ships, would mean tough times for some employees and employers.

And a requirement for self-isolation for visitors arriving from countries other than in the Pacific Islands could also add to pressures, she said yesterday.

"I can just imagine how this is going to impact on people’s mental health," she added.

Potential job losses could be a "big problem", and some employers and employees would be "fearful of the outcome".

Providing sufficient Government economic support and mental health backing was important, she said.

"We need to be prepared for that and need to ensure that people do get the help that they deserve," she added.

Anxiety levels would go up but lots of things could also bring them down, including getting regular exercise, eating well and remembering to be grateful.

The Dunedin mental health advocate did not wish to minimise the pressures, but she urged people to take a positive approach to self-isolation. Some people could continue to work from home, and could keep in touch with friends by telephone.

They could also catch up with reading and gardening and go for a walk or run, while avoiding close contact with other people, she said.


Where to get help

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor

Depression healthline: 0800 611 116

Lifeline Aotearoa: 0800 543 354

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Samaritans: 0800 726 666

Alcohol Drug Helpline: 0800 787 797

General mental health inquiries: 0800 44 33 66

The Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757

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