Facing a mental health challenge is not easy, and it’s even harder when people assume that you can ‘just get over it.
Today, many lives are impacted as a result of challenges associated with mental health. According to the New Zealand Health Survey (2018), one in six New Zealand adults have been diagnosed with a common mental disorder at some point in their lives. Nearly nine percent of adults experience psychological distress. Over 650,000 adult New Zealanders struggle with depression while growing old.
While these are just some of the many sobering facts, the even more worrisome concern is that there simply aren't enough mental health resources to go around. Those who need help, often don't receive it. Overburdened and short-staffed mental health systems around the world have become a pressing issue. According to the World Health Organization, mental illness accounts for 15% of the total burden of disease in the developed world, with depression set to become the second leading cause of disability in the world by 2020.
However, amidst the turmoil, there is hope.
Many successful, innovative approaches are gradually emerging in pockets of local communities across the country, along with the support of the New Zealand government. Here are just some of the proud accomplishments that NZ is making in the field of mental health:
The government has dedicated $1.5 billion to tackling mental health (as per their 2019 budget)
1.5 million New Zealanders have access to free mental health services, with 100 new sites set to operationalise in the coming months
Ministry of Health allocated $500 million to COVID-19 response health package prior to the lockdown along with the launch of three discrete initiatives including:
-The Mentemia app, developed by All Blacks legend Sir John Kirwan. It acts as your personal digital mental well-being coach. With Mentemia, you’ll discover what things can help you feel more energised, more productive and better equipped for whatever the world throws at you. It provides useful information and tools that help you build healthy habits to enhance resilience. For example, you receive access to thought-provoking, mood-boosting information such as ‘5 best ways to relax your mind before you sleep.’
-A health journal app called Melon. It helps you keep a track of your activities and understand how they impact your mood. You get to choose from a range of topics and learn new skills through podcasts, videos and articles on mindfulness, nutrition, creating habits, relationships and more. They have also created a safe space wherein members of the community can share their experiences and tips with each other, anonymously.
-An e-therapy programme called Staying On Track. It includes tips and techniques around how you can help yourself during a difficult time. Developed by Just A Thought, this tool makes use of cognitive behavioural therapy to teach practical strategies to users that help them cope with stress and disruption to everyday life caused during situations like the COVID-19.
Over the coming few weeks, New Zealand is set to experience the introduction of 13 new initiatives -- all with the objective of tackling mental health-related challenges such as suicide prevention, addiction support, intensive parenting support and more. You too, can make a difference in the Mental Health field and bolster the ranks of mental health professionals.
Here is your chance to explore your career path and make a positive and lasting impact!
Become a shining light for someone battling the darkness of mental illness - study Diploma in Mental Health & Addiction (Level6) with AGI Education Ltd and equip yourselves with the right skills, values and attitude that you need to support the consumer voice and role of family and whānau today.
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