COVID-19: Mental health and wellbeing resources

Information and tools available to support your own and others’ mental wellbeing and where to get help if you need it.

Last updated: 12 September 2022

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Impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on how we interact with others, go about our lives, our work, study and many other aspects of our lives. We know that a combination of stress and uncertainty can have significant and wide-reaching impacts on the mental wellbeing of people in New Zealand.

We want people to know it is normal to not feel all right all the time – it’s understandable to feel sad, distressed, worried, confused, anxious or angry during this crisis. Everyone reacts differently to difficult events, and some may find this time more challenging than others. The ways people think, feel and behave are likely to change over time – we all have good days and bad days.

During this time, you may be looking for new or additional ways to help you feel mentally well and get through. Here you can find information on tools to support your own and others’ mental wellbeing and where to get help if you need it.

COVID-19 and your mental health and wellbeing

Having COVID might make you feel anxious, concerned or uncertain about what happens next. It’s normal to feel like this.

Everyone reacts differently and some people may find this time much harder to cope with than others.

Taking care of your hauora is really important.

Here are some things to try for improving your wellbeing and recovery while at home:

Stay connected – even though you’ll be in isolation, you can still talk to your mates on the phone, online or out the window

Try a free mental health and wellbeing phone app, like the ones on Health Navigator, for ways to feel better.

There are people you can talk to for free, for example, call or text 1737, Lifeline, Vaka Tautua or Mapu Maia.

You can also reach out to your GP and tell them you’re struggling. They’ll be able to help.

Slow breathing can really help to stay calm, too. If you’re able, take a long slow breath in - hold for a few seconds - then slowly breathe out. Repeat four times.

Take a look at the five ways to wellbeing on the Mental Health Foundation website as there are some that you can still do while isolating at home.

Watching the news can often make you feel more distressed, so take a break from it till you’re on the mend.

Rest up and drink plenty of liquids. We know exercise can help with mental wellbeing but when you have COVID you need to keep it light.

Stay off the grog. Alcohol and drugs can make you feel worse, not better.

Make a point of finding something beautiful in nature each day.

Get plenty of sleep if you can. Your routine might be out of whack but you should aim to go to bed at the same time each night, and try to get up at the same time every morning.

Healthy eating makes me feel better. Eat lots of veges, fruit, grains and fish if you can, and try to steer clear of the sugary and processed stuff.

Try to accept your situation. It’s just temporary. You have a viral infection and your body is fighting it. You’re bound to have good days and bad.

  • Stay connected
  • Try a mental health or wellbeing app
  • Contact your GP if you need to
  • Try breathing exercises
  • Limit the amount of news you watch
  • Eat good food, avoid drugs and alcohol
  • Find what gives your mood a boost and do that every day.

You can do this! Remember if you’re feeling down, there’s lots of help out there if you need it.

Get help if you need it:

  • Call 1737 – Freephone or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor
  • Lifeline – Freephone 0800 543 354 or text HELP (4357)
  • Samaritans – Freephone 0800 726 666
  • Depression Helpline – Freephone 0800 111 757 or free text 4202
  • Youthline – Freephone 0800376 633 or free text 234
  • Asian family services – Freephone 0800 862 342 in 10 languages
  • Alcohol Drug Helpline – Freephone 0800 787 797 or free text 8681
  • Gambling Helpline – Freephone 0800 654 655 • OUTLine NZ – Freephone 0800 688 5463 for LGBTIQ+ support
  • Vaka Tautua – National health, disability and social services provider by Pacific for Pacific. Freephone 0800 OLA LELEI (652 535)
  • Mapu Maia – Pacific problem gambling. Freephone 0800 21 21 22

Supporting your own mental wellbeing 

If you or those around you are concerned about how you’re feeling or your wellbeing, there is information and tools available to help you feel mentally well and get through.

The Mental Health Foundation has practical tips, stories, and resources focused on things we can all do to maintain our mental wellbeing and look after our whānau. The site also includes additional helplines, tools and resources.


  • Need to talk? (1737 – free call or text) any time for support from a trained counsellor
  • The Depression Helpline (0800 111 757) 757 or free text 4202 (to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions)
  • Healthline (0800 611 116)
  • Youthline (0800 376 633)
  • The Lowdown Text 5626 for support to help young people recognise and understand depression or anxiety.
  • Alcohol Drug Helpline (0800 787 797)

Digital tools

  • Groov is an app that you can use to monitor, manage and improve your mental wellbeing by setting daily goals and tracking your progress.
  • Small Steps are digital tools to help you maintain wellness, find relief, or get help for yourself, friends or whānau
  • Headstrong - (including Aroha Chatbot) a uniquely New Zealand chatbot app designed for young people -it feels like talking with a trusted friend. Download it from the app store on your mobile device.
  • Triple P Online – online parenting support including Triple P, Teen Triple P and FearLess Triple P. Designed to help parents support their children and teenagers to cope with lifes, ups and downs, promote wellbeing and make family life more enjoyable.  

Support for those concerned about substance use and/or gambling

During this time people may be looking to familiar habits or seeking out new ways to cope with feelings and situations. While alcohol or other drug (substance) use and / or gambling may seem like ways to cope, these behaviours can negatively impact many areas of our lives including our health, wairua (spirit), hinengaro (mind), relationships and overall wellbeing.

If you, or those around you, are concerned about your substance use and/or gambling, there are helplines available:

  • Alcohol Drug Helpline  Call 0800 787 797 or Text 8681 for advice, information, and support about drinking or other drug use
  • Gambling Helpline  0800 654 655 or Text 8006.  Support for those worried about gambling or the gambling of others.

Advice for those already receiving mental health and addiction services

Mental health and addiction services continue to be available. Some services may still be delivered in different ways such as by video link or over the phone.

If you, or those around you, are already receiving mental health and addiction services, continue to do the things that you know are helpful for your mental health and wellbeing and make contact with the health professional you see most often if you need advice or additional support right now.  The online and phone support services listed on this page are also available for you to use.

Talk to your health professional, GP, or free call or text 1737 any time to talk to a trained counsellor if you need further support.



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