A woman with should length brown hair is sitting at their computer looking at a Just a Thought course on screen
date24th August 2021

Huge surge in people seeking mental health support is 'a good thing'

If you’ve joined our community in the past week, a huge haere mai! We’ve seen a massive surge in people signing up for Just a Thought since Lockdown began last week – and we think that’s a good thing!

Sign-ups to our courses have gone up by almost 200 percent, and you’re one of 25,000 people who’ve viewed our website! This shows that as Kiwis, we know we need to look after our mental health in times of uncertainty.

‘This huge jump shows we’re experiencing a higher level of distress. But on a positive note, it’s wonderful to see people being proactive to support their wellbeing,’ says our clinical lead Anna Elders.

‘When we're faced with any situation that carries a sense of uncertainty and risk, we feel anxious and begin to experience the different symptoms of the fight-or-flight response. This can be a good thing if it helps motivate us to reduce the danger we’re facing. As a nation, we’ve been really good at cooperating, staying at home and locking down, to overcome the Covid threat.

‘But the fight-or-flight response also creates heightened distress and anxiety,’ she adds. ‘Then there are the real challenges like having the kids home all the time or losing income. Or, if you live alone, it’s very normal to experience lower moods when you're having less contact with others.’

To help people with the stress of lockdown, we developed a short course called Staying on Track, which includes these tips:

Take one day at a time: When we’re faced with stressful situations, our minds tend to focus on worst-case outcomes. It’s great to remind ourselves we only need to get through today – this can help reduce our distress and increase our ability to cope.

It’s OK not to feel OK: By giving ourselves permission to feel upset, rather than beating ourselves up, we can respond to our feelings in a more helpful way.

Stay connected to what matters: Connect with and focus on what matters most - whether it’s activities, people or practices. These are important supportive factors that can balance out our fears.

We all need skills to manage stress, anxiety and low mood - because those are things we all go through. Just like we look after our physical health, we also need to look after our mental health. And that’s even more important in lockdown.