As the month-long lockdown to combat coronavirus looms for New Zealand, concerns are being raised for the nation's most vulnerable youth.
While New Zealand police anticipate a spike in domestic violence in the coming weeks, Upside Youth Mentoring Aotearoa (formerly Brothers in Arms), a service that links youth in need to volunteer mentors for support and guidance, is preparing for an increased need for mentors.
The service, which has been matching young people with mentors since 2006, has highlighted that especially in times of stress and fear, children need positive adult role models. Statistics from last year showed 15 per cent of the young people the organisation works with were battling disabling anxiety, 22 per cent were self-harming and more than a third were deemed low to medium suicide risk.
They note that being isolated is the worst-case scenario for the youth they work with.
While usual weekly meetings for Upside Youth mentors and their young people will not be able to take place during the coronavirus lockdown period, the organisation is taking measures to ensure connections can still be made and vital support still be accessed.
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The organisation's "new normal" will see messaging apps and video calling used and online group hangouts and virtual events established as internet connections, phones and tablets are made available to the youth in their programme to ensure social-isolation doesn't lead to social-disconnection.
Upside Youth Mentoring's research with the University of Auckland shows mentoring relationships work. Their mentors offer consistency and support to children who have experienced violence and neglect in their home life.
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call 111.
If you need to talk to someone, the following free helplines operate 24/7:
DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
LIFELINE: 0800 543 354
NEED TO TALK? Call or text 1737
SAMARITANS: 0800 726 666
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 or text 234
There are lots of places to get support. For others, click here.