Primary healthcare news, information & resources


COVID-19 primary mental health supports


The psychosocial concerns experienced during 2020 will be influenced by the impact of COVID-19. There will be social and financial issues - relationships strained, job losses.

There are a range of things available that may help.

You

The skill GPs, NPs and other team members bring to consultations everyday continues to be invaluable at this time. Listening, empathising, and normalising the roller coaster or emotions experienced will be helpful to many. Basic advice on sleep, exercise, nutrition, connecting with others and enjoyable activities, taking care with alcohol and other drugs will help everyone.

Self-management tools

There are a variety of self-management apps that can support the advice you give.

Mentemia is an app based on content from the John Kirwan website www.depression.org.nz. It has bite sized advice, blog posts, videos, COVID-19 self-care advice and tools e.g. breathing exercise, worry wheel, mood tracking, mindfulness audios and links to the 1737 helpline.

Melon Health #ArohanuiNZ for self-care and support during COVID-19 - This has moderated chat, resources by category and journaling. It is currently free (but may not remain free).

Just a Thought: Staying on Track has also launched a way to stay on track during COVID-19. It introduces easy-to-use, practical strategies to cope with the stress and disruption of day-to-day life as an impact of COVID-19, teaching participants how to support their mental and emotional health through learning how to look after their worry and choose behaviours that will help them and their wh?nau stay on track. Just a Thought also offers a depression and anxiety module.

www.depression.org.nz - The Journal is an free online CBT resource designed mainly for people experiencing mild to moderate depression or anxiety.

Getting Through Together is a website specific to COVID-19 response with links for financial/social support as well as other general advice.

Headspace is a specific mindfulness app which is currently offering some content for free during COVID-19. It includes mediations, sleep and movement exercises.

Extended GP consults

Virtual extended consults for mental health distress are eligible for funding claims in the usual way.

FACT is a great tool for using in an extended GP consult for getting progress quickly by helping patients focus on what's important to them and giving them some skills to manage their emotions so they can make goals and achieve them. This Goodfellow Unit webinar is a great introduction in FACT for GPs and will help you get started fast.

Russ Harris has produced this e-book on how we can use the skills of FACT to meet the specific distress of COVID-19 (PDF).

Need more?

Referral based services are still available.

Waikato

  • Our Pinnacle primary mental team are offering phone or video consultations. Community counsellors and psychologists have been provided with information on how to conduct phone or video consults safely. The referral process remains the same (via BPAC).
  • E-coaching service has health coach support to work through The Journal on www.depression.org.nz - online CBT programme.
  • Diversity counselling have funding to assist refugees through the migrant centre, https://dcnz.net/
  • Male Support Services Waikato - free COVID-19 support, https://waikatosurvivors.org.nz/

Taranaki

  • Primary mental health service through Taranaki Primary Connections as normal.

Lakes (Taupo)

  • Your HIPs are working remotely and available to provide same day support as normal.

Tairawhiti

  • Our Pinnacle primary mental team are offering phone or video consultations. Community counsellors and psychologists have been provided with information on how to conduct phone or video consults safely. The referral process remains the same (via BPAC).

All areas

  • Secondary services and CRISIS services continue to operate and provide service as appropriate.
  • Also remember to check if your patient has access to EAP Services via their workplace.

For more information

Dr Maree McCracken is the clinical director of mental health and wellbeing at Pinnacle MHN. Maree is passionate about mental health service improvement. Email maree.mccracken@pinnacle.health.nz  or 027 485 7847.

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