Getting Through Together / Having a hard time getting through? / Hauora hinengāro/mental health supports and services

Therapeutic, peer-led or medical hauora hinengāro/mental health supports and services can be an important part of our kete/toolkit to stay well. You might be looking at accessing these services for the first time, want to maintain your access to them or want to change things up to help manage any new or returning manawa pā/triggered thoughts and emotions you’re experiencing.

We’ve had a lot of pātai/questions from people across the motu/nation of Aotearoa about what supports and services are available. With the help of tāngata/people who’ve been through traumatic experiences in the past, peer support networks and our resource and information team, we’ve compiled some of the most common pātai and whakautu/answers we’ve come across.

Right now, many of us are experiencing manawa pā/triggered thoughts and emotions. You might be experiencing these for the first time or have experienced them before. Many tāngata/people find that having a kōrero or talanoa/conversation with a support person can really help.

If you need to kōrero with someone other than a friend or whānau member, you can:

  • Call a counsellor on a range of free helplines. It can seem whakamataku/scary or whakamā/shameful to call someone you don’t know to kōrero about how you’re feeling, but these calls can be really helpful. Here are some services you can contact:
    • Free call or text 1737 at any time to speak with a trained counsellor
    • Call 0800 POUNAMU (768 626) for a Māori-led approach to your kōrero
    • Phone Asian Family Services on 0800 862 342 if you would like to speak with someone from an Asian culture
    • Call Vaka Tautua on 0800 825 282 to have a phone talanoa/conversation about what you’re going through from a Pasifika perspective.
  • Join a free peer support group. A peer support group is exactly what it sounds like – a group of people who are each experiencing manawa pā/triggered thoughts and emotions and are tautokohia/supporting one another through. The new app Melon holds regular sessions you can loop into; if you’re under 25 and living in Wellington, you can also access Piki’s counsellors or peer support services over video. If you’re looking to do an activity, attend one of Changing Minds’ new virtual Whakatau Mai sessions where people collectively ako/learn how to practice resilience, sensory modulation and Māori models of wellbeing together.
  • See a kaituku haumanu/therapist. If you can afford it, visiting, calling or video-calling a kaituku haumanu can really help you to find a way through. If you’re phoning or video-calling a kaituku haumanu for the first time, make sure you sit somewhere private and comfy and prepare a list of things you want to talk about to make the most of your time. To find a kaituku haumanu, search for ‘counsellor’, ‘therapist’, ‘psychologist’ or ‘psychiatrist’ by your region here. 

Accessing hospital, community hauora hinengāro/mental health or respite services can be invaluable at times. Accessing these services should always start with your agreement first, whether you agree to it at the time or agree in advance by creating your own supported decision-making plan with your whānau or support person.

Some key pātai/questions from our communities are:

  • Should I still seek hospital services? Hospital services and wards are still operating at every level, and you will still be allowed to leave when discharged as you normally would be. You can bring a support person with you as usual, too.
  • Are respite and community mental health services still open? You'll still be able to access mental health services, though depending on what level we're in, they might look a little different to what you're used to. This might mean face to face or group sessions take place over the phone or video call to accommodate social distancing measures. It's a good idea to call your service before you go to understand their specific processes.
  • Can I access a kaupapa or rongoā Māori service? Like most services, it’s best to call, email or even find and message them on Facebook first to see how they are operating. You can find a list of some kaupapa Māori health providers by area here, or a list of government-funded rongoā Māori services at this link.

These sage pieces of advice or mātauranga are from people who’ve “been there, done that” – people who have lived and are successfully managing their way through mental distress and trauma.

“Reach out for help if you need it. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.”

“Don’t set any expectations. Go easy on yourself and don’t allow what other people are doing to influence your time.”

“When things are really bad, I just go to sleep and know the next day could be different.”

E tū Kahikātea, hei wakapae uroroa, awhi mai, awhi atu, tātou, tātou e.
Kahikātea trees stand together; their roots intertwine, strengthening each other.

Phone numbers

  • Free text or call 1737 for a team of trained counsellors who are available 24/7
  • Call 0800 POUNAMU (768 626) to talk to someone about your mental health or join an online hui
  • Phone Asian Family Services on 0800 862 342 if you would like to speak with someone from an Asian culture
  • Call Vaka Tautua on 0800 825 282 to have a phone talanoa/conversation about what you’re going through from a Pasifika perspective
  • If you are also living with addictions, call 0800 787 797 for more support
  • Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 to speak to a registered nurse over the phone
  • See our helplines resource for more numbers.

Websites, peer support groups and resources

  • Click on this link to find a directory of tākuta/doctors, GPs or counsellors near you
  • Click here to find a list of kaupapa Māori health providers by area, or here for a list of government-funded rongoā Māori services
  • This website can help to identify early signs of mental distress and put a crisis plan in place
  • If you are likely to experience an aromatawai/assessment or treatment under the Mental Health Act, contact this list of mental health district inspectors for guidance (try email first)
  • Follow or join the NZ Mental Health Consumer/Whaiora Facebook sharing or the Hearing Voices Network Facebook group to find information which might help you, or ask for advice from the community
  • If you live in Ōtautahi/Christchurch, visit Mental Health and Peer Support (MHAPS)’ website to find out what peer support groups and other services are available near you
  • If you have concerns about a mental health service you have received, visit this website to make a complaint
  • If you are having or anticipating medication withdrawals, visit the MindTrIbe website for some advice.

Supporting whānau and loved ones