On 31 December 2019, Wuhan, China reported the first case of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). In the months following, COVID-19 has rapidly spread around the world, mobilising communities and sectors to manage those directly and indirectly affected by the illness. On Thursday 26 March, the New Zealand Government implemented a level 4 lockdown across the country as a strategy to lessen the impact of COVID-19.
The Alert Level 4 phase of the COVID-19 response means has impacted on people affected by secondary stressors (such as closed borders, closed businesses, restricted movement, etc.) than the disease itself. Psychosocial support during an emergency is about easing the psychological, social and physical difficulties for individuals, families, whānau and communities and enhancing wellbeing and helping people to recover and adapt. The Ministry of Health’s psychosocial response to COVID-19 must meet the needs of the entire population and recognise that preparedness, response and recovery all coexist across the duration of the event rather than in a linear sequence. Some groups, such as Māori, are more likely to be significantly impacted by COVID-19, and as such, the response must prioritise resource and effort to support those groups.
Hāpai Te Hauora Tāpui Limited has been engaged to support the national coordination of Māori Mental Health and Addiction providers, alongside the wider sector efforts in delivery of the national psychosocial response. This national coordination service will support Māori Mental Health and Addiction providers in planning, coordinating and delivering psychosocial interventions and mental health and addiction services during the current Alert Level response to COVID-19 for up to six-months.
We are looking to take a partnership approach to addressing the impact of COVID-19 and look forward to working with you to enhance the psychosocial response in your area.