Stressed, anxious, depressed or just need someone to talk to? Now you can find a local listening ear, with local counselling agency Taupō Family Centre Inc launching an 0800 helpline.

Working remotely since Covid-19 alert level 4, Taupō Family Centre Inc launched the 0800 WELBEING number to enhance their service delivery. Service manager Jackie Hill said the Taupō Family Centre provides a holistic wellbeing service, and the 0800 number is to compensate for staff being unable to offer face-to-face counselling at this time.

For the past 20 years the not-for-profit charitable trust has offered special counselling and support services to the Taupō district.

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"We focus on holistic wellbeing and provide a wrap-around approach where we work with the whole family," said Jackie.

Taupō Family Centre employs 10 staff, including counsellors, social workers, practitioners, and support workers. Communication with people needing their help since lockdown has been through Messenger, Skype, Zoom or telephone.

Jackie says a key message with the 0800 number is that the person on the other end of the line lives in Taupō or in the Taupō District.

"When you ring 0800 935 234 you will be connected to one of our staff, and we live locally. You won't be speaking to someone in say Wellington or Auckland," said Jackie.

Having a meaningful phone call when everyone is home can be challenging in terms of time and space, says Jackie. She says it can be hard to find a quiet space to talk to a counsellor with everyone home 24/7 and the kids doing home schooling.

Jackie says some families are coping really well with the lockdown restrictions and have embraced the situation, while other families have struggled with unemployment, debt repayments, anxiety, and home schooling.

She says everyone has felt stress due to uncertainty and the staff at Taupō Family Centre were there to provide tools to help a family de-escalate and de-stress.

"And if we cannot help you, then we will refer you to a service that can help."

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Jackie is encouraging anyone concerned about family wellbeing to get in touch with Taupō Family Centre 0800 935 234 or Facebook @WhanauTaupō.