We’ve lived with COVID for a while now, some of us may still be struggling with mental health issues. Our useful links below are still relevant - take the time to check them out.
25 August 2021
Free counselling service for early learning and schooling workforce during COVID-19
Teachers and support staff across all early learning services, kōhanga reo, kura, and state and state-integrated schools can now access free COVID-19 Employee Assistance Programme support, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.
“Our kaiako and teachers have been vital in supporting our learners during COVID-19 and have stepped up again to assist them and their whānau in this latest resurgence in our community,” Chris Hipkins said.
“On behalf of all New Zealanders, I would like to express my gratitude to our education workforce for going above and beyond to ensure our children and young people are supported while learning from home.
“They are playing an important role in our country’s COVID-19 response by looking after the education and wellbeing of our children. I’m sure every New Zealander will join me when I say we need to look after their wellbeing at this difficult time as well.”
This service is being funded out of a $16m Workforce Wellbeing Package. It will be accessible from 25 August 2021 to 25 November 2021. Each educator can have up to three confidential one-on-one counselling sessions online, or by phone, to support them while COVID-19 restrictions are in place.
“This is in addition to any existing services that an early learning service or a school already provides to their teachers and support staff,” Chris Hipkins said.
“Everyone has their own way of dealing with stress. Having someone to talk to – may it be your family, whānau, friends, work colleagues, or via our Employment Assistance Programme – can help. I encourage all our educators to make use of all the wellbeing resources available to them, including this new support.”
“We have overcome COVID-19 before and we can do it again. To our educators, parents and students across the country – please look after yourself, your families and each other.”
More information about the EAP service is available on: Workforce Wellbeing Package – Education in New Zealand
You can find other wellbeing support from Ministry of Education here.
21 August 2021
Resources from Benestar
Check out the following factsheets from Benestar:
Te Whare Tapa Whā
Te Whare Tapa Whā is a model of health that helps us to identify where we need extra support. It describes health as a wharenui or meeting house with four walls. These represent taha wairua (spirituality), taha hinengaro (mental health), taha tinana (physical health) and taha whānau (social relationships). Connection with the whenua (land) forms the foundation.
- Using Te whare tapa whā – As a guiding principle framework for Māori and others
- Finding balance – Te whare tapa whā plan for individuals
- Finding balance – Te whare tapa whā plan for teams and the workplace
- A guide for maintaining health and wellbeing (includes, rest, good eating, excercise, actions, etc)
- A mental health guide for New Zealand leaders (this has sections on diet and sleep, etc)
- A personal wellbeing plan - Five ways to wellbeing
- Refuelling the tank for individuals
- 64 ways to take care of yourself
- A few minutes of self-care
- Depression.org.nz has resources for whānau with anxiety or depression
Mahi-A-Atua is led by Dr Diana and Mark Kopua – they hold regular wānanga through their Facebook site to tautoko kaupapa Māori approaches to wellbeing and addressing power, practice and systemic racism.
Connected Eastern Southland’s The Southerly
The Southerly has tips and advice about mental health and wellness that’s specifically for Eastern Southland. Content is provided by mental health and wellness experts, and commissioned by the Community Networking Trust as part of a local welfare response to COVID-19.
See their information below on finding balance.
We’re not in Kansas anymore…
Times are a-changing, and we have all had to step outside of the normal and into a strange and unfamiliar place. For many of us, it is an uncomfortable place where we are struggling to balance competing demands. These might include spending an unprecedented amount of time with our partner, children, or flatmates, struggling with strong emotions, and finding ourselves overworked and wired to technology. A place called lock-down.
Your happy place: Finding a balance.
When it comes to balance, there is no easy place to start. Every aspect of our ‘new normal’ is important to our wellbeing and deserves our attention. So, in no particular order, here are a few issues you may be experiencing right now, and some strategies to help find your happy place.
Juggling kids and work?
Planning is your new best friend. Try putting together a daily schedule of tasks and activities so that every member of the family knows what they should and shouldn’t be doing throughout the day. Find a template online, or draw one up on a piece of paper, a whiteboard, or whatever you have handy. Mix in the timetables from the online school plans. Then work to this as best you can—while recognising these are challenging times, and we all need to give ourselves more than a bit of slack. This will help keep you as productive as you can be (and sane), while giving your children the consistency they need.
Frustrated or angry?
Of course you are, and that’s ok. We all have a lot to deal with right now: being cooped up with family or housemates, supermarket madness, cancelled plans, and confusion over when this will all end to name a few. But anger left bottled up can become unhelpful and cause us to lash out at others. This is the moment to take a deep breath and pay attention to what’s going on inside you. Work with what you can control. That’s you! (And your response.)
- Take time out: Amidst the stress, you may notice your dog staring longingly at you for a walk. Seize the chance and leave the house for a walk. You can also claim some ‘me’ time by escaping to a spare room in the house. This will give you time to relax, find your centre and maybe even some possible solutions.
- Talk it out: Share your feelings with your partner, a trusted friend or co-worker. They may be able to help you identify some other feelings behind the anger and helpful ‘next steps’.
- Take control (of what you can): If you are worried about finances, get some financial advice or do a budget. Feeling lethargic? Schedule some exercise into your day. Disconnected? Set up a video call with friends or family. Lacking purpose? Take up a new hobby or start an online course. Do what you can control and forget the rest.
Can’t switch off from work?
When work and home worlds collide, we may find ourselves working longer than usual, or checking emails over dinner. While this can be tempting, our minds need to rest (and de-stress) as much as our bodies. Remember to keep to regular work hours and switch off from work at the end of the day by turning off your computer or disabling notifications. Supercharge your down-time by doing something fun in your bubble, learning a new skill or practising a hobby.
Links for more
- Daily Covid-19 Schedule for Kids (editable Word file - free to download).
- Moneytalks – free-to-call financial advice helpline.
- Just a thought - advice and strategies for coping with Covid-19.
- 1737 - Free call or text 1737 at any time to talk to this confidential helpline service.
Find out more about Connected Eastern Southland on Facebook and keep up to date with their latest information.
Staying mentally healthy - from WellSouth
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. It is normal to feel stressed or lonely during this challenging time, but there are some things you can do to feel better.
While there are things that we can’t control now, there are things we can do to boost our mental wellbeing and that of your loved ones.
This helps to make us feel safer, less stressed and less anxious. We can support each other to get through this. While we are limiting social contact to contain the spread of COVID-19, there are still lots of ways we can connect.
Acknowledge your feelings
It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, worried or scared in the current situation. Allowyourself time to notice and express what you’re feeling. This could be by writing thoughts and feelings down in ajournal, talking to others, doing something creative or practising meditation. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you’re feeling. Reach out to others.
Stick to routines where possible
Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time, eat at regular times, shower, change your clothes, have regular e- meetings with colleagues or virtual coffee dates with friends and do your chores. Meditating and exercising can help you to relax and have a positive impact on your thoughts. Try not to increase unhealthy habits like comfort eating, drinking, smoking or vaping.
Check-in on other people who might need help
Reaching out to those who may be feeling alone or concerned can benefit both you and the person receiving support.
Seek accurate information
You may find it useful to limit your media intake. Get the facts from legitimate websites to help distinguish facts from rumours. Seek information updates at specific times once or twice a day.
Don’t be afraid to seek further professional support
For support with anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 to talk with a trained counsellor for free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Ring your GP, GP practices are open but are working differently. Call them first, this will help them decide how they can help you.
All mental health and addiction services are continuing to provide services during this time, albeit by confidential and secure virtual health options.
Check out WellSouth’s Video Consultations: A Guide for Patients - helpful for virtual consultations.
Continue existing mental health treatment if possible
Notice if your symptoms are getting worse. Talk to your GP, counsellor, caseworker or mental health team about how they can continue supporting you. Can your appointments take place over the phone, via email, text or video chat? You may find WellSouth’s Video Consultations: A Guide for Patients helpful for virtual consultations.
Useful links and resources
Free apps, toolkits, and other digital resources are available to help New Zealanders look after their mental wellbeing.
Getting Through Together has tips and advice on how to cope with the stress of COVID-19 in the Getting Through Together toolkit . It also includes Sparklers at Home, a resource for parents to talk with their primary-school-aged children about their mental health and wellbeing.
Staying on Track – a guide to support your wellbeing during COVID-19. justathought.co.nz/covid19
depression.org.nz continue to support people through depression. COVID-19 specific mental health advice is available.
www.booksonprescription.co.nz has heaps of online resources to support your mental wellbeing.
Mental Health Foundation - contact Alanna Ramsay:
Mentemia free app - provides practical tips to help its users take control of their mental health and wellbeing.
Le Va - has developed culturally appropriate and evidence based tools in preventing family violence during the COVID-19 lockdown.