When the notification flashed up on my phone this morning from an expert saying 10 per cent of New Zealanders will likely become depressed as a result of Covid-19, my first thought was: is that all?
Sadly, I worry the number could be a lot higher.
New Zealand's discussions about mental health are often quite polarised: you're either all good or you're suicidal. We often forget the thousands of layers in between that make up that crappy onion.
Whether they are diagnosed with depression or not, a lot of New Zealanders will be doing it really tough right now.
Some of these people thought their life was all set and who believed poverty or money worries would never be part of their lives.
Some of these people have their self-worth intrinsically linked to their job, which is now gone.
Some of them will be struggling because their routine is gone, their life has no structure, their future looks uncertain.
Whether or not a specialist would diagnose some of these people with depression, the reality is that their mental health and their wellbeing has been affected and they've joined what was already a long list of people struggling.
I know this is not the cure for everything for everyone (like I said, many layers) but if people's mental health is impacted by the fact that they've lost their jobs, then the solution is pretty obvious: give them a job.
But here's the catch though: before I get a bunch of emails reminding me there's plenty of fruit picking to be done in orchards in the South Island now that the tourists have left, let's keep in mind that, when talking about people's mental health, it's not any job that will fix the problem.
People deserve jobs that suit their lifestyle. You can't expect a young family to uproot from the city to the middle of nowhere because mum or dad got a job picking apples. I mean, you could … but that's not going to make them feel better about where they're at in life.
Putting people in jobs - proper jobs that suit their life and pay a wage that makes them feel worthy and able to afford nice things - is going to be an important part of looking after people's mental health in the post Covid-19 world.
By "putting them in jobs" I mean more than just creating another job search website - what good is a job search site if there are no jobs?
I know it's not a solution that will suit everyone but there is a definite link between good, stable employment and a person's mental health. A comprehensive mental health plan needs to consider this.
There are many ways the Government can choose to stimulate the economy and create jobs and that's got to be an essential part of our recovery.
An income should not define someone's worth. We all deserve to feel safe and go to sleep without worrying about how we'll feed our children or afford the power bill. In fact, we all deserve more than that. We deserve more than "making ends meet", we deserve nice things. We can't keep calling on New Zealanders to "shop local" when so many Kiwis can't even afford to go out for a family meal.
Treating symptoms is great - and needs to continue to be prioritised. But what's also really great is getting right in there to the root of the issue and ensuring people can get back on their feet so we don't find ourselves escaping a coronavirus pandemic only to dive right into a mental health epidemic.
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Whats Up?: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.