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Kiwis to receive an extra 2,300 hours of crisis support during COVID-19

While the long term community impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to be realised, the impact it is already having on our collective mental health has placed added pressure on existing support services.

Since the nationwide lockdown began, Lifeline has experienced a consistent 25% increase on the usual 10,500 inbound calls they already facilitate each month. On May 4 alone, Lifeline fielded 493 calls and 782 text messages - thought to be the highest volume of enquiries in any single day in the helpline’s almost 55-year history.

Even as New Zealand restrictions ease, inbound requests for mental health support have remained steady, and Lifeline estimates that it will require an additional 2,300 hours to continue to support the influx over the next six months.

Our $150,000 partnership with Lifeline Aotearoa, with funding support from nib, will help to ensure this need is met over the coming months as well as allow Lifeline to increase the hours of phone counsellors, provide additional training, supply supervision to call centre staff to maintain their own mental health and ensure they have the right capabilities in place to operate effectively.

This is important for the New Zealand community and particularly those who already live with anxiety or mental health problems who have had their normal routine and coping strategies, such as meeting a friend, visiting a counsellor, psychologist and/or psychiatrist face-to-face, or going for a drive, interrupted since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

By enabling Lifeline to continue their 24/7 support service and meet the increased demand, we hope to provide the necessary additional support needed to help New Zealanders cope during COVID-19 and beyond.

This funding provided by nib and nib foundation is a part of nib’s COVID-19 member and community support package and $1 million commitment to ensuring communities across Australia and New Zealand are supported during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’re in a crisis or know someone who's struggling, contact: 0800 LIFELINE (0800 543 354) or text HELP (4357). www.lifeline.org.nz/

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