Mental health

Keeping on top of mental health, while under the stress of COVID-19

31 Aug 2021

Anxiety. Stress. Grief. Feeling overwhelmed. And just ‘over it’. These feelings can be hard enough to work with in normal life but when everything is flipped upside down they can really ramp up. That goes for everyone, from kids to kaumātua.

Te Hiringa Hauora has collected some resources to help anyone who may be feeling this way, particularly through the latest lockdown.

Good mental health and wellbeing are key aspects of a healthy life. However, mental distress is common, with about four in five New Zealand adults (aged 15 years or more) having experience of mental distress either personally or among people they know. We work with the mental health sector to support New Zealanders to experience positive mental health and wellbeing.

On this page you’ll find links and information for:


Young people

The Lowdown

The Lowdown is a website for young people with concerns about their mental health who are looking for support, and for friends and whānau who want to support them. It has COVID-specific content and links for anyone needing immediate help.

In particular you might want to check out a mood self-test that can help you work through how you’ve been feeling lately and suggest some steps to help you get unstuck.

There is also information on feelings of grief and loss (including Aunty Dee, a tool to help you work through things.  Aunty Dee will guide you to list your problems, come up with ideas and find a solution. It’s free and confidential).


Adults is a website is for adults looking for support with their mental health. It has updated information and mental wellbeing tips for individuals and whānau feeling overwhelmed by COVID.

Small Steps

Small Steps offers free digital self-help tools for anyone wanting to manage stress and increase their wellbeing. That includes people who want to help others manage their stress such as your partner or friend.

The tools are deep breathing, muscle relaxation, identifying signals, mindful watching, balancing mood, gratitude practice, active listening and reframing thoughts.

Our page has COVID-specific information for people concerned about their drinking.

Safer Gambling Aotearoa has clear information about how to keep online gambling safe.


Tagata Pasifika

Mana Pasifika

Mana Pasifika supports Pasifika communities who are feeling anxious and distressed during these tough times of COVID-19.

Mana Pasifika is a collaboration between Te Hiringa Hauora, Mapu Maia, Vaka Tautua, the Mental Health Foundation and Pasifika health leaders Phil Siataga, Stephanie Erick and Tui Tararo.


Kaumātua and those supporting them

Have a look at this series on how kaumātua responded to and felt about the nationwide lockdown in 2020, what they did to occupy themselves and what they have learned for next time. 

During lockdown and level 3, doctors are still open. It’s important that you still have appointments with your GP – even at level 4 – even if it’s got nothing to do with COVID-19. Check out these videos especially ‘Virtual Nan’ where the moko make sure Nan gets the healthcare she needs.


Pregnant women, new māmā and those supporting them

Being pregnant and welcoming a new pēpē (baby) can be exciting and special. But even at the best of times, it can be stressful, emotional and overwhelming. You’re not alone if the COVID-19 situation has you feeling more stressed than normal.

Take the time to understand if there are changes to your antenatal, birth and postnatal care during the different alert levels. The Ministry of Health website is a good place to start.

  • Pregnancy
    • Before baby is born, the antenatal period, is critical – especially when it comes to mental wellbeing. Up to 1 in 10 women have antenatal depression. It doesn’t say anything about what you’ll be like as a māmā, and the sooner you get help, the better.
    • Signs to watch out for can include feeling sad most of the time and not enjoying things you used to. If you think you may be depressed or have anxiety that’s making it hard to cope, talk to someone you trust like your partner, a close friend or your midwife.
  • Birth
    • You and your pēpē will still receive the same high quality care and access to services but there may be some changes to ensure any risk of spreading COVID-19 is minimised. Your midwife or other care provider can explain these changes. You may also find this article useful about women who gave birth during the 2020 nationwide lockdown.
  • After baby is born
  • New dads and dads-to-be
  • Whānau and friends
    • Māmā, pēpē and partners still need you. You can do things like regularly checking in with them via texts or video chats. Give practical help by doing their supermarket shops and baby supply shopping, or dropping off kai in a safe way that prevents the spread of COVID-19.


Everyone, everywhere

Need to Talk 1737

No matter what you need to talk about, there’s a free 24/7 phone and text service you can use to get in touch with mental health and addictions professionals. If you just ‘Need to talk’ call or text 1737.

It is free to call or text from any landline or mobile phone, 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

1737 is designed to meet the needs of anyone who 'wants to talk' to trained mental health professionals. It is not tied to a specific mental health issue or condition.