A triage number for Hawke’s Bay residents struggling to cope with the effects of COVID-19 has been set up by Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.
The number is 0800 561 322. It is available 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).
“It is important to note that this is a non-emergency number,” says Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s Nurse Director and Psychosocial Support coordinator, Peta Rowden.
“People with emergency mental health needs should, as always, contact the health board’s emergency mental health number (0800 112 334) or, if it is a life-threatening situation, phone 111.”
People with mental health needs requiring counselling can use the national health number, 1737, which is manned by counsellors 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The new number is aimed at people struggling with the COVID situation.
“It may be that people are distressed or anxious because of an employment issue, or are feeling cut off from society due to self-isolation, or are perhaps struggling to feed their families.”
The clinicians answering the call will help by referring the caller to a Hawke’s Bay service that can help with their welfare needs, and/or refer them for assistance with their mental health needs.
All health boards across New Zealand are required to provide a psychosocial response to their communities.
“We have approached local providers to get a clear understanding of the situations they can assist with, to ensure that this 0800 number is as effective as possible,” said Mrs Rowden.
The number has been shared across the region, to both clinical and non-clinical organisations, to help it become widely known.