WARNING: This article references mental health issues and suicidal thoughts.
Lifeline Aotearoa is calling for more support after calls and texts to the Healthline almost doubled since 2019.
The organisation has seen an 88 per cent spike and operations manager Helena de Fontenay said the stress of Covid-19 is showing up in more complex calls involving suicidal thoughts, self-harm and risk to others.
"Lifeline recorded its highest ever text day on Friday, 10th of September, World Suicide Prevention Day."
She said Lifeline does not receive any government funding, and relies on donations to provide the essential support.
De Fontenay said it needed to ensure that when people take time to kōrero, it had the resources and choice of services necessary to help people be safe.
"And that means funding for more counsellors. We want people to call us to talk about what is going through their minds. We want to hear those complex calls and difficult thoughts, because we can help,"
She said it existed for anyone, any time, anywhere in New Zealand - for someone to kōrero with when there might not be anyone to talk to.
In the first week of the current lockdown, she said, Lifeline received about 8500 calls and texts, which rose to 8700 in week two, 10,900 in week three, 11,167 in week four.
In the fifth week, when most of the country moved to alert level 2, she said the numbers dropped to 10,713.
"We all need to be working together to address New Zealand's mental health issues. That includes supporting our frontline counsellors and volunteers. At Lifeline, we need funding to train more people, to take more calls and save more lives.
"Because the $50 you give may literally save the life of someone in your community."
To donate to Lifeline visit: https://www.lifeline.org.nz/donate
Looking for support? It's available
• Call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
• Call PlunketLine 24/7 on 0800 933 922
• Depression helpline: Freephone 0800 111 757
• Healthline: 0800 611 116 (available 24 hours, 7 days a week and free to callers throughout New Zealand, including from a mobile phone)
• Lifeline: 0800 543 35
• Sexual assault HELP 04 801 6655