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Online mental health support for all

Yellow Brick Road’s Lucinda Cassin said the organisation will provide support for families struggling with mental health by online and phone services during the lockdown. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

JOHN LAZO-RON
[email protected]

With so much uncertainty surrounding where this latest covid-19 Delta outbreak and lockdown is taking New Zealanders, the need for mental health support is at a high.

New data made public by New Zealand Health IT [NZHIT] showed a 630 per cent increase in Kiwis turning to online support during last year’s lockdown. That demand is expected to be parallel during this level 4 lockdown.

Meeting that need in Wairarapa is family-focused mental health support service Yellow Brick Road.

Newly appointed National Director of Maori Health Lucinda Cassin said the Greytown-based organisation’s plan to assist Wairarapa families during the hardship of lockdown if it was to extend beyond today.

Cassin said the organisation will provide support for families struggling with mental health by online and phone services during the lockdown.

“Previous lockdowns taught us that we can do our work in such challenging circumstances,” she said.

“We learnt a lot about technology and how we can reach out effectively. We found that people seemed to need a bit more time to talk in lockdown and we were happy to do that.

Despite previous support success in lockdown, Cassin said the organisation was under no illusion how challenging this lockdown, which has come with the new wave of community transition, would be for people in Wairarapa.

“I am getting a sense that this lockdown might become more stressful for people,” she said.

“We have noticed that those that we are currently supporting are already experiencing increased levels of anxiety. I think there is a lot more fear around the transmittable nature of Delta.”

Cassin said Yellow Brick Road support workers can have anything from 10 to 30 families to support at a time. They now have eight staff on board, who will all work remotely, to meet all needs with the demand that is expected to come.

She said Yellow Brick Road’s main goal was to ensure every family that needs them has the best level of attention and service they can deliver, while providing the right pathways to other support services.

Cassin shared some advice for anyone feeling anxious about the current situation and wanting to keep control of their mental well-being.

“People need to know they are not alone,” she said.

“Mental illness and anxiety do not discriminate – all demographics are affected. We should remember that uncertainty and living in close confines, with worries about so many things can really compile to cause worries and distress. for feeling worried or troubled.”

  • Yellow Brick Road has developed several online well-being guides [in five languages] that were now available on its website www.yellowbrickroad.org.nz

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