Lockdown stress and anxiety likely to trigger tsunami of mental health recommendations, according to Fresh Minds

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Tāmaki Makaurau’s main mental health and wellness department, Fresh Minds, expects a tsunami of referrals from GPs for people with mental health issues as the city slips down alert levels and that the stress and stresses of foreclosure are wreaking havoc on everyone from young people to seniors.

In the month following the 2020 lockdown, Fresh Minds saw a 24% increase in referrals to its psychology service, including a significant increase in the number of young people seeking psychological support through its school health service, and expects the same to be true. will recur this year as Auckland emerges from strict containment.

“We know the distress in our communities is significant during and after closures. We have already seen the severity of people’s anxiety symptoms dramatically increase,” said psychologist and CEO of Fresh Minds Tania Wilson.

Fresh Minds continued to provide psychological support to its clients throughout the lockdown, with therapists making appointments by phone and video call. While virtual support during lockdown has been a lifeline for some, others find it difficult as they may have a crowded house or children at home, so finding a quiet space to speak with their psychologist can be difficult. .

Ms. Wilson comments “We are seeing an increase in the number of customers who are struggling with money, struggling with employment, and wondering how they can afford even the most basic necessities such as food. There are also stories. of large families reunited in one house where tension and conflict can be high, and the other extreme where those who live alone feel truly isolated and lonely. “

Fresh Minds clinicians also report that for some people, exercise plays a very important role in mental well-being. Psychologist Dr Balveer Sikh said: “I have several clients for whom sport and rigorous physical activity play a crucial role in their mental well-being. Team sports in particular provide a physical outlet as well as a social bond. Not having access to these activities really affects people’s well-being. with some people needing to increase medication to deal with a bad mood. “

“With each new lockdown we have seen the level of distress increase and the number of people in need of help increasing, we expect the demand for our service in the three months leading up to Christmas to be really high and we are let’s prepare for it. “

Tania Wilson concludes, we recognize that lockdowns are a necessary public health measure to control the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, but the level of mental distress they cause should never be overlooked and will require significant funding, collaboration between providers and government commitment to ensure people are supported to recover from the long tail of stress and anxiety associated with the pandemic.

Fresh Minds is offering a free online “Introduction to Anxiety Management” webinar, hosted live by a Fresh Minds therapist, to learn simple tools and techniques for managing symptoms of anxiety. People can register for free.

Anxiety Management Introductory Live Webinar, by Fresh Minds

When: Monday, October 4, 2021, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Topic: Manage anxiety

Register in advance for this webinar here

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