Maintaining the mental health of yourself and others around you during lockdown is paramount according to Bay of Plenty mental health advocates.
This comes as New Zealand enters its sixth day of lockdown following the discovery of a community Covid-19 case in Auckland on Tuesday last week.
All parts of the country were originally due to be in level 4 lockdown for three days, except Auckland and Coromandel which would be for seven days.
However, on Friday afternoon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed the lockdown would be extended as the number of community cases continued to increase.
The number of Kiwis searching for mental health services online skyrocketed during the first few days of lockdown, according to online mental health charity Just a Thought.
Daily registrations doubled in the first two days of lockdown for Just a Thought's online courses aimed at helping people experiencing anxiety and low mood.
This mirrored new research that showed a whopping 630 per cent increase in people accessing its courses, and a 185 per cent increase in people signing up for help with anxiety and depression, during New Zealand's first extended lockdown last year - in a study published by Just a Thought and the Australian tool This Way UP.
"When we're faced with any situation that carries a sense of uncertainty and risk, we feel anxious and begin to experience the different symptoms of the fight-or-flight response," clinical lead Anna Elders said.
"Anxiety can be a good thing if it helps to motivate us to reduce the danger we're facing. But the fight-or-flight response also creates heightened distress and anxiety.
"Then there are the real challenges like having the kids home all the time or losing income. Or, if you live alone, it's very normal to experience lower moods when you're having less contact with others."
Greg Halse, the officer manager at Rotorua Samaritans, a mental health helpline, said he could not provide exact figures because he was unable to go into his office due to lockdown.
"However, I'm sure we would have an increase in the numbers of people calling our free telephone helpline. Our fantastic volunteers are still carrying on their duties as they always have," he said.
STORY CONTINUES BELOW LIVE BLOG
Halse said it was important people did reach out to seek the help they needed and callers could be assured they could speak to the helpline staff in confidence.
"If people are feeling lonely or anxious because they are socially isolated from their family and friends they should reach out to Samaritans or one of the other helpline services.
"It is not a sign of weakness to do so. It's only natural to feel more anxious or stressed at this time. Situations like this are exactly why helpline services like ours exist."
Halse said these services were free and confidential.
Micheal Naera, chairman of Rotorua's Te Mana Hauora o Te Arawa Charitable Trust, said it was vital people tried to manage their stress levels and one way was keeping the mind active.
"We know a lot of Māori live in large whānau groups and sometimes social distancing even in their own bubble can be quite difficult and that does add extra stress to the household.
"One of the important things people can do is for each whānau member to gather for a family hui each day and discuss how they are going to get through the day. That includes the children," Naera said.
"Keeping our mind active with fun games and mindful activities such singing waiata, learning Māori stick games or playing board games or charades can all help to reduce feelings of anxiousness."
Naera said it was also "very important" people checked in with each other to see whether they were okay, particularly young children.
"Children express their anxiety in different ways. Sometimes it will be a sore tummy or a bit of a tantrum, or being upset because they feel left out. That anxiety can easily build especially if parents are role modelling negatively in the household," he said.
"Or, when there are extra financial pressures, particularly if people cannot afford to put food on the table," Naera said.
He said the main thing people could do was reach out to support those not coping as well.
"One key message I also want to say is that if any whānau are feeling unsafe they should break their bubble and seek help from their neighbour or someone else they trust."
Chief victims adviser to the Government Dr Kim McGregor said victims of family violence and sexual violence should know police and social services would be there to help.
"My message for all New Zealanders: You are not alone. It's not okay for anyone to hurt you. Violence is still a crime," McGregor said.
"Even though we are currently in self-isolation, we still want to hear from you if you or someone in your bubble is being hurt."
Anyone in immediate danger should contact 111.
University of Otago school of medicine consultant psychiatrist Chris Gale said the psychological consequences of lockdowns would bite.
"We know from last year that students have been more anxious as their social networks have decreased in Switzerland, Italy, the UK and in New Zealand," he said.
"What can make a difference is having social support and connectivity. Most of the time we do that by being with our family and meeting with our friends.
"We can use telephone, video calls and social media as we have done before."
Registered clinical psychologist Jacqui Maguire said it was important to remember Kiwis had been through a lockdown before.
"Not only did we survive that experience, we learnt many lessons from it," she said.
Maguire's tips for lockdown:
• Trust in the experts.
• Follow the rules.
• Stay connected. We know how important relationships and connections are for wellbeing and mental health. Call, check-in, wave when you walk past someone and smile.
• Get off social media and get your information from a trusted source.
• Ask yourself what was most helpful during the last lockdown. Are you someone that needs that quiet cup of tea away from the family, or is a walk a non-negotiable for you?
• Take care, look after yourself and each other. And if you are struggling reach out, whether that be to someone in your bubble, a loved one over the phone or a trained professional
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633 or text 234 (available 24/7)
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (12pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 or text 4202 (available 24/7)
• Anxiety helpline: 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY) (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
If you're in danger now:
• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours or friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people. Scream for help so your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you. Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay.
Where to go for help or more information:
• Women's Refuge: Crisis line - 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 (available 24/7)
• Shine: Helpline - 0508 744 633 (available 24/7)
• It's Not Ok: Family violence information line - 0800 456 450
• Shakti: Specialist services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and children. Crisis line - 0800 742 584 (available 24/7)
• Ministry of Justice: For information on family violence
• Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga: National Network of Family Violence Services
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women
How to hide your visit:
If you are reading this information on the Herald website and you're worried that someone using the same computer will find out what you've been looking at, you can follow the steps at the link here to hide your visit. Each of the websites above also has a section that outlines this process.