Psychiatrists from all over New Zealand, have dialled in virtually to the RANZCP 2021 New Zealand Conference
to discuss the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chair of Tu Te Akaaka Roa – The New Zealand National Committee, Associate Professor Susanna Every-Palmer, has reiterated
the vital need for the New Zealand Government to prioritise the adequate provision of psychosocial support with similar
priority to other health measures.
‘Our current and future response plans need to take due account of the psychosocial burdens of pandemics and how to
mitigate them’, added Associate Professor Every-Palmer.
‘As an example, we note the New Zealand Government’s release of the Psychosocial and Mental Wellbeing Recovery Plan
outlining the national approach to supporting the mental and social wellbeing in the COVID-19 recovery period.
‘Supporting the population’s psychological wellbeing spans a broad range of domains, from ensuring people have ready
access to accurate information, basic necessities, and community connection at one end, through to the availability of
specialist mental health services at the other end.
‘Communication campaigns are required to publicise what supports are available and how people can access them, with
targeted messages for priority groups.
‘The mental health sector, which even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic has been struggling under pressure in many
countries including New Zealand, needs to be adequately resourced to meet the predicted increased demand.
‘Free access to high quality e-therapies and telehealth support also becomes increasingly important if people are afraid
or are not allowed to leave their homes.
‘The COVID-19 pandemic has provided our Government, and health sector, with a chance to reflect on the way we work and
consider new approaches to health care.
‘While COVID-19 remains with us there will be continuing uncertainties: the economic, social and psychological
consequences of COVID-19 will ripple out across our society.
‘These consequences will have a major impact on mental wellbeing for the entire population and we must prioritise our
country’s mental health.’
For all other expert mental health information visit Your Health in Mind
, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.