Looking after yourself and your mental health is important, especially during the holiday season and into the New Year.
In 2019, 29 per cent of New Zealanders reported feeling added financial and social stresses during the festive season says the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.
The mental wellbeing platforms 'Just a thought' and 'Mentemia' offer help dealing with the extra stress and are free to New Zealanders.
With the Covid-19 pandemic, both platforms noticed an increase in downloads.
Just A Thought launched in September 2019 providing web-based courses using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to support people through anxiety, depression, and Covid-related wellbeing challenges. In over a year, they reached 20,000 registrations.
Just A Thought clinical lead Anna Elders says: "As a nation we have coped with a lot in the last few years, and now we've had to deal with the social, emotional and economic impacts of a global pandemic.
"It has put mental health on more people's radars as it's becoming more normalised, and more accepted that we all struggle with our mental health from time to time."
Covid-19 and the lockdown increased the need for online therapy, but it also helped to de-stigmatise mental health in New Zealand. Online therapy makes mental health support more accessible than ever before since the tool can be used on any device. There are no waiting lists, and it can be accessed anywhere.
CBT teaches skills that can be used throughout life when dealing with stressful situations, introducing an accessible, easy way to learn those skills in a structured framework.
Just a thought general manager Charlie David says: "Mental health support becomes a luxury item when ordinary New Zealanders can't afford to see a psychologist. But we believe everyone has the right to good mental wellbeing."
For more information go to justathought.co.nz
The Mentemia workplace wellbeing platform was created by former All Black and mental health advocate Sir John Kirwan.
A public version of the app was released in April to help all New Zealanders and Australians through the Covid-19 pandemic. It has been downloaded more than 110,000 times.
Now the Mentemia premium subscription service for workplaces and businesses has a new feature: A digital twin of Kirwan that gives people simple tools and techniques to include in their daily routine.
This is not only helpful during Covid-19 where personal sessions are not available, researchers from the University of Southern California also found that people were more open to a virtual interviewer than to a real therapist.
The first version of DJK, as the artificial intelligence feature is called, is incorporated as a sleep coach who offers tips on sleep, answers sleep-based questions, and helps users develop a sleep improvement plan.
Kirwan says: "One of the key reasons for developing DJK was to provide additional support to the mental health sector and to reach more people in need. It's well known there is a huge need for mental wellbeing support and using digital solutions is one of the most effective and efficient ways to reach as many people as possible."
He finds that good sleep is absolutely fundamental to good mental health. "We can all relate to how we feel if we have a poor night's sleep, so it was a natural place to start for DJK."
Users can chat with DJK and help him grow. He learns more over time and will be able to offer more personalised advice and cover many more areas of wellbeing as well.
The Digital twin of Kirwan offers people a different way to access information.
"Incorporating AI technology into a digital tool enhances the user experience and helps to improve evidence-based, personalised mental wellbeing advice," he says.
For more information visit www.mentemia.com
Where to get help
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Helpline: Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: Free call 0800 376 633, free text 234
• Parent Help: 0800 568 856
• Alcohol and Drug Helpline: 0800 787 797
• Shine - domestic abuse helpline: 0508 744 633
• Women's Refuge Crisisline: 0800 733 843
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
SPARX.org.nz is another online e-therapy tool by the University of Auckland that helps young people learn skills to deal with feeling down, depressed or stressed