Keep checking in on ourselves and each other to maintain mental health during Covid crisis

Kaniva commentary August 29, 2020

Keep checking in on ourselves and each other to maintain mental health during Covid crisis

While Auckland is coming out of Level Three and the rest of New Zealand is coming out of Level Two, the Covid-19 threat has not gone away, with 13 new cases today.

That means that communities in Auckland and elsewhere still have to  be careful and still have to face the strain of keeping safe.

It may also mean that Tonga will delay the repatriation flights from Auckland for a while longer.

All of this is going to impose more strain on communities, especially when they may also be facing strain over finances and job losses.

According to the New Zealand Department of Health, stress and uncertainty can have significant and wide-reaching impacts on the mental wellbeing of people.

Covid-19 has had a significant impact on how people interact with others, go about their lives, work and study.

The Department said it was normal to not feel all right all the time. It was understandable to feel sad, distressed, worried, confused, anxious or angry during this crisis.

People reacted differently to difficult events and some may find this time more challenging than others. The way people thought, felt and behaved were likely to change over time.

The Department said people may  need help to feel mentally well and get through the crisis.

That is why it is important that people keep an eye on themselves and on each other.

Yesterday we reported the words of John Kiria from the Mt Wellington Integrated Health Centre in Auckland, who said some people were reluctant to ask for help.

Unfortunately, people aren’t just reluctant to ask for food parcels. They are also reluctant to ask for help when mental stresses become too much.

That’s why it was good to read the advice of   Dr Jemaima Tiatia-Seath, co-head of the School of Māori Studies and Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland, who said we need to be vigilant about our own well-being as well as other people’s.

Dr Tiatia-Seath, who is a specialist in mental health and well-being among Pacific people, said that like other members of the community, members of the Pacific community were subject to stresses from the lockdown.

“We’re all the same,” Dr Tiatia-Seath said.

“We all feel anxious leaving the house and juggling family, work and schooling or job loss. It may sound like a cliché but sometimes we need a reminder that it’s extremely important to check in with each other.

“When we’re disconnected from people, it can be hard to pick up the signs of distress without being physically present.

“It’s important to make sure we’re checking in on loved ones, friends and colleagues.”

Mental health support

Depression Helpline on 0800 111 757 or text 4202.

Covid-19: Mental health and wellbeing resources




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