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.
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.
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.
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:
- Stay connected, stay safe(external link)
- The best online safety tips for lockdown(external link)
- How to create an online safety plan(external link)
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.
- Parental controls guide(external link)
- Privacy settings on social networks(external link)
- Privacy settings on devices(external link)
- Switch on safety(external link)
- Online Safety Parent Toolkit(external link)
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.
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.
If you find any illegal material online, you can report objectionable material to the Department of Internal Affairs.
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.
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.
- Need to Talk? — free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
Find out more about Need to Talk? 1737(external link)
- Youthline — call 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email email@example.com
Chat online or find out more at Youthline(external link)
- Kidsline — call 0800 54 37 54 (0800 KIDSLINE) for young people up to 18 years of age.
Find out more about Kidsline(external link)
- Skylight — call 0800 299 100 helping children, young people and their families and whānau through tough times of change, loss, trauma and grief
Find out more about Skylight(external link)
- Lifeline — 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)
Find out more about Lifeline(external link)
- Suicide Crisis Helpline — 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Find out more about the Suicide Crisis Helpline(external link)
- Depression and Anxiety Helpline — 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions.
Find out more about the Depression and Anxiety Helpline(external link)
- Anxiety phone line — 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY)
Find out more about the Anxiety phone line(external link)
- Family Services 211 Helpline 0800 211 211 — for help finding, and direct transfer to, community-based health and social support services in your area
Visit the Family Services Directory online(external link)