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COVID-19 is changing daily lives and it’s important to look after everyone’s wellbeing, particularly those experiencing mental illness, says Dr Sue Mackersey from Hauora Tairāwhiti’s mental health and addiction services.
“It’s a tense time for most of us as the lockdown changes the way we work, socialise and access healthcare. We know many people are feeling anxious and stressed. Our teams will continue to look after people who need us.”
Community mental health services for all ages are still being offered in a range of safe ways, says Dr Mackersey. It is important that people do not go to the usual service locations. Instead they must phone ahead and they will be advised what to do next.
Rostered teams continue to work for the 24/7 psychiatric crisis service and can be contacted on 0800 243 500.
Mental health and addiction support is still available through Te Kuwatawata by phoning 06 868 3550 from 8am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
Hauora Tairāwhiti’s adult community mental health and addiction service; infant child and adolescent mental health service; and mental health services for older people, are still operating. “Medication clinics are also continuing as per usual and our teams continue to work closely with pharmacies about any medication needs.”
Dr Mackersey says acute mental health inpatient care in the hospital in Te Whare Awhiora (Ward 11) remains open.
Dr Mackersey says if you’re currently getting help with your mental health then continue with this. “It’s all right to feel anxious, angry, scared or worried right now. Your wellbeing while you’re staying at home is important and we want you to know you’re not alone.”
Dr Mackersey says mental health service staff are able to give people living with mental illness the same wellbeing tips that everyone in New Zealand can benefit from.
“Set up routines and structure your day. Go for a walk and get some fresh air and sunshine. Find ways to connect. Be kind to others.”
“And it’s not just adults worrying about COVID and the changes that are happening. Listen to your children and give clear and honest answers. It’s OK to say that we don’t have the answers. Most of all, if you are feeling overwhelmed and worried, get help.”
Dr Mackersey reminded the public about New Zealand’s 24-hour free call or text 1737 service.
“If you are feeling anxious, a bit overwhelmed, or know someone who is feeling out of sorts or depressed you’ll get to talk to, or text with, a trained counsellor and the service is completely free.