Getting Through Together / Having a hard time getting through? / Hauora hinengāro/mental health supports and services

Therapeutic, peer-led or medical hauora hinengāro/mental health supports and services can be an important part of our kete/toolkit to stay well, especially during traumatic times such as COVID-19. You might be looking at accessing these services for the first time, want to maintain your access to them or want to change things up to help manage any new or returning manawa pā/triggered thoughts and emotions you’re experiencing.

We’ve had a lot of pātai/questions from people across the motu/nation of Aotearoa about what supports and services are open, and how they’ve changed and what’s accessible during this time. With the help of tāngata/people who’ve been through traumatic experiences in the past, peer support networks and our resource and information team, we’ve compiled some of the most common pātai and whakautu/answers we’ve come across.

We acknowledge that due to digital inequities and inequalities in Aotearoa, not all tāngata/people who need this parongo/information will be able to access it. If you know someone who is alone in their mirumiru/bubble and cannot use a computer and/or phone, please consider printing, writing out or verbally sharing this information with them.

Right now, many of us are experiencing manawa pā/triggered thoughts and emotions. You might be experiencing these for the first time or have experienced them before. Many tāngata/people find that having a kōrero or talanoa/conversation with a support person can really help.

If you need to kōrero with someone other than a friend or whānau member, you can:

  • Call a counsellor on a range of free helplines. It can seem whakamataku/scary or whakamā/shameful to call someone you don’t know to kōrero about how you’re feeling, but these calls can be really helpful. Here are some services you can contact:
    • Free call or text 1737 at any time to speak with a trained counsellor
    • Call 0800 POUNAMU (768 626) for a Māori-led approach to your kōrero
    • Phone Asian Family Services on 0800 862 342 if you would like to speak with someone from an Asian culture
    • Call Vaka Tautua on 0800 825 282 to have a phone talanoa/conversation about what you’re going through from a Pasifika perspective.
  • Join a free peer support group. A peer support group is exactly what it sounds like – a group of people who are each experiencing manawa pā/triggered thoughts and emotions and are tautokohia/supporting one another through. The new app Melon holds regular sessions you can loop into; if you’re under 25 and living in Wellington, you can also access Piki’s counsellors or peer support services over video. If you’re looking to do an activity, attend one of Changing Minds’ new virtual Whakatau Mai sessions where people collectively ako/learn how to practice resilience, sensory modulation and Māori models of wellbeing together.
  • See a kaituku haumanu/therapist online. If you can afford it, many kaituku haumanu are holding counselling sessions with people over video or phone. While not quite the same as kanohi ki te kanohi/face-to-face sessions, they can help you find a way through. If you’re calling a kaituku haumanu for the first time, make sure you sit somewhere private and comfy and prepare a list of things you want to talk about to make the most of your time. To find a kaituku haumanu, search for ‘counsellor’, ‘therapist’, ‘psychologist’ or ‘psychiatrist’ by your region here. 

Accessing hospital, community hauora hinengāro/mental health or respite services can be invaluable at times. Accessing these services should always start with your agreement first, whether you agree to it at the time or agree in advance by creating your own supported decision-making plan with your whānau or support person.

Some key pātai/questions from our communities are:

  • Should I still seek hospital services and if I do, will I get locked in? Hospital services and wards are still operating at every level, and you will still be allowed to leave when discharged as you normally would be. If you’re not sure whether you need to go to hospital or not, the best thing to do is call ahead as the hospital may be able to provide some initial help or advice over the phone.
  • Are respite services still open? Most respite services are open but may have restrictions in place right now to ensure people’s safety. It’s best to call your community mental health team first to check around any restrictions.
  • Are community mental health services available in my area? Community mental health services are still operating at every level, but many have paused or minimised kanohi ki te kanohi/face-to-face services and are operating over phone or video instead. It may not be possible to bring a support person with you, and if it is okay to bring someone it will need to be arranged in advance. Call your service before you go.
  • Can I access a kaupapa or rongoā Māori service? Most Māori health providers are open but may not be able to deliver the kanohi ki te kanohi/face-to-face services we are used to. Like most services, it’s best to call, email or even find and message them on Facebook first to see how they are operating at this time. You can find a list of some kaupapa Māori health providers by area here, or a list of government-funded rongoā Māori services at this link.

Medication is distributed via a tākuta/doctor or GP. Call or email your GP’s clinic to make an appointment. At the moment, most appointments will be carried out over the phone or via video chat.

Some key pātai/questions from our communities are:

  • How do I collect my medication with the physical distancing rules? Many kēmehi/pharmacies now have special collection procedures, such as a ‘one in, one out’ rule, to ensure that they are safe. Your kēmehi should be able to fulfil new or repeat prescriptions which can be faxed by your tākuta or GP to save time. If you cannot travel to a kēmehi, you could contact this community volunteer website to see if they can pick up your prescription for you.
  • It is safe to visit my tākuta/doctor? It’s a good idea to call your tākuta or visit their website first to see how they are handling their consultations. Many tākuta are holding appointments over the phone, video or sometimes even in the carparking area. If you don’t have a tākuta right now, you can find a list here.
  • Are there medication shortages? Most medications are available as normal, with the exception of Fluoxetine (Prozac) – you may need to go in and pick this up every month instead of every three months. If you are concerned about whether your medication will be available, contact your tākuta/doctor or kēmehi/pharmacy to check.

These sage pieces of advice or mātauranga are from people who’ve “been there, done that” – people who have lived and are successfully managing their way through mental distress and trauma.

“Reach out for help if you need it. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.”

“Don’t set any expectations. Go easy on yourself and don’t allow what other people are doing to influence your time.”

When things are really bad, I just go to sleep and know the next day could be different.”

E tū Kahikātea, hei wakapae uroroa, awhi mai, awhi atu, tātou, tātou e.
Kahikātea trees stand together; their roots intertwine, strengthening each other.

Phone numbers

  • Free text or call 1737 for a team of trained counsellors who are available 24/7
  • Call 0800 POUNAMU (768 626) to talk to someone about your mental health or join an online hui
  • Phone Asian Family Services on 0800 862 342 if you would like to speak with someone from an Asian culture
  • Call Vaka Tautua on 0800 825 282 to have a phone talanoa/conversation about what you’re going through from a Pasifika perspective
  • If you are also living with addictions, call 0800 787 797 for more support
  • Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 to speak to a registered nurse over the phone
  • See our helplines resource for more numbers.

Websites, peer support groups and resources

  • Click on this link to find a directory of tākuta/doctors, GPs or counsellors near you
  • Click here to find a list of kaupapa Māori health providers by area, or here for a list of government-funded rongoā Māori services
  • This website can help to identify early signs of mental distress and put a crisis plan in place
  • Visit the Uruta website for Māori-led information on manawa pā/triggered thoughts and emotions and accessing medication
  • If you are likely to experience an aromatawai/assessment or treatment under the Mental Health Act, contact this list of mental health district inspectors for guidance (try email first)
  • Follow or join the NZ Mental Health Consumer/Whaiora Facebook sharing or the Hearing Voices Network Facebook group to find information which might help you, or ask for advice from the community
  • If you live in Ōtautahi/Christchurch, visit Mental Health and Peer Support (MHAPS)’ website to find out what peer support groups and other services are available near you
  • If you have concerns about a mental health service you have received, visit this website to make a complaint
  • If you are having or anticipating medication withdrawals, visit the MindTrIbe website for some advice.

Supporting whānau and loved ones