Some people will be feeling a wee bit anxious over the next wee while while there is uncertainty, here’s some advice from the ministry of health around looking after your mental health through COVID-19

Staying mentally healthy

Everyone’s emotional and mental wellbeing is important. It’s normal to feel anxious or stressed in times of difficulty. However, there are lots of things you can do to feel better.

Top ways to look after your mental wellbeing

There are a number of things we can all do to boost our mental wellbeing and that of our loved ones.

Stay connected

This is important for our wellbeing and helps to make us feel safer, less stressed and less anxious. We can support each other through the recovery, by keeping the connections and close ties to others that we forged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acknowledge your feelings

It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, worried or scared. Allow yourself time to notice and express what you’re feeling. This could be by writing thoughts and feelings down in a journal, 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, see others regularly, either virtually or in person, 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 stressed or concerned can benefit both you and the person receiving support.

Limit your time online

You may find it useful to limit your time online. Check media and social media at specific times once or twice a day.

Keep children safe and reassured

Guidance for parents, carers and whānau on keeping children safe and reassured.

Be honest about the situation

Help children cope with anxiety by providing accurate information.

Children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. Parents, caregivers, whānau and teachers have a particularly important part to play in reassuring children at this time.

Children will react to and follow your verbal and non-verbal cues. If you stay informed and realistic, it will be easier for you to reassure children effectively as well.

They also need to feel that any fears they may have can be talked about and addressed. Let your children talk about their feelings and help reframe their concerns into the appropriate perspective.

You know your children best. If they have a lot of questions, consider how much extra information would or wouldn’t be helpful for them to know before replying.

 

Make sure children are safe and cared for

If you’re worried that a child or young person you know is not safe or being cared for, or you know a child who has been separated from their parents or caregivers, contact Oranga Tamariki.

Call 0508 326 459, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or email contact@ot.govt.nz

 

Keep children safe online

During the COVID-19 pandemic many people have spent more time online. While the internet helps us connect with people, there are also risks. Knowing how to stay safe online can help protect you and your whānau.

For more information on how to keep your children and young people safe online visit the following Netsafe websites:

Parental controls

This is a good time to learn about the use of tools such as filters, parent controls and privacy settings to manage access to appropriate content, screen time and privacy.

Appropriate online content for children and young people

We are watching more movies and shows and playing more games than usual. The Classification Office’s website has resources and advice to help you make good choices about what your children see and play. It also has guides for parents on how to talk with older children and teens about what they’re watching, including pornography.

The Classification Office(external link)

You can report concerns about material you or your children have seen to Information.Unit@classificationoffice.govt.nz

Reporting online harm, illegal material or inappropriate online contact

It is illegal for anyone to send or publish threatening, offensive or sensitive material and spread damaging rumours. Netsafe provides resources and advice on a range of online safety issues such as bullying and abuse and scams. You can report an online incident to Netsafe and get free expert advice.

Report an incident to Netsafe(external link)

If you find any illegal material online, you can report objectionable material to the Department of Internal Affairs.

Department of Internal Affairs(external link)

If anyone in your family or whānau receives inappropriate contact online, you can make a non-emergency report to the police or call 111 for emergencies.

Make a non-emergency report to the police(external link)

Mental wellbeing helplines

There are helplines available that offer support, information and help. All services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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