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Source: Just a Thought

There has been an unprecedented jump in people signing up for online mental health support during this first week of lockdown, says Charlie David, general manager of Just a Thought – a charity that provides free online therapeutic courses for depression and anxiety.
In the past week, there had been a 918 percent increase in registrations for Just a Thought’s short course ‘Staying on Track’, developed specifically to help people with stress related to Covid-19.
– There was a 176 percent increase in people signing up for help with anxiety.
– There has been a 196 percent increase in site visitors, equating to 24,656 website visits.
– In two years since its launch, Just a Thought has had over 30,000 course registrations.
‘It’s really normal for people to feel increased anxiety and stress during lockdown,’ said Just a Thought clinical lead Anna Elders.
‘This huge jump indicates New Zealanders are experiencing a higher level of distress. But on a positive note, it is wonderful to see people proactively seeking out solutions to support their wellbeing,’ she said.
‘New Zealanders are wanting to look after themselves and are really changing the mental health conversation. We all need skills to manage stress, anxiety and low mood – because those are things we all go through. I think Kiwis now know that we need to look after our mental health, just like we do our physical health. And that’s even more important in lockdown.’
‘Our country’s proactive stance to Covid seems to be mirrored in our recent increases in people seeking help through our digital service. New Zealanders are proactively take steps to protect their wellbeing.’
The key themes of the ‘Staying on Track’ course were:
Take one day at a time: When we’re faced with stressful situations, our minds tend to focus on worst-case outcomes. It’s great to remind ourselves we only need to get through today – this can help reduce our distress and increases our ability to cope.
It’s OK not to feel OK: By giving ourselves permission to feel upset, rather than beating ourselves up, we can respond to our feelings in a more helpful way.
Stay connected to what matters: Connect with and focus on what matters most – whether it’s activities, people or practices. These are important supportive factors that can balance out our fears.
‘Our courses are such a useful tool for anyone during lockdown because you get the same skills as seeing a therapist face-to-face – but it’s free, there are no waiting lists, and you can do it from home. It makes accessing mental health possible for everyone,’ said Mr David.
– These recent statistics reflect research undertaken on Alert Level Four in 2020. This showed a 630 percent increase in people accessing Just a Thought courses in the three months that included lockdown.
– All Just a Thought courses are designed by clinicians and based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which looks at the interaction between our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. This is an evidence-based therapy that has been shown to be one of the most effective in helping people with depression and anxiety.