Mental illness is an isolating disease. Isolation is a feeling of chronic emptiness and a feeling that one doesn’t belong, which can lead to anxiety, insecurity and depression. It is estimated that one in six New Zealanders have a mental illness. That statistic could be higher. What we do know is mental illness is often left untreated, people are not accessing the services available and those services are stretched, resulting in long wait times for early intervention, and early discharge for people in acute care.

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People suffering from a mental illness often feel isolated and alone, just when they need support more than ever.

We hear over and over again in the media from people struggling with depression and other forms of mental illness that they feel alone and have no one to turn to, despite often being surrounded by people. Which raises the question, could an online tool where people could participate anonymously and connect with others going through the same thing, with self-management techniques and tools to help build resilience, and access to support from a trained mental health professional - result in better health outcomes?

Well we don’t know. But we will find out over the next 6-12 months as we roll out our first Emotional Wellness programme in New Zealand through participating primary care clinics. The programme will form part of primary care integrated service delivery.

It will be the first digital health programme prescribed through primary care for people with early to moderate mental illness, in New Zealand. The Emotional Wellness programme will be delivered via mobile and web applications and will centre around peer support, holistic self-management tools, health tracking and health coaching. It will be monitored by a mental health nurse and will provide access to emergency and crisis services.

The programme will launch in early September.

To find out more about the programme, email siobhan@melonhealth.com

Where to get help if you or someone you know is experiencing mental illness:

  • Lifeline (open 24/7)
    0800 543 354
  • Depression Helpline (open 24/7)
    0800 111 757 or Text 1737
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline (open 24/7)
    0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) This is a service for people who are thinking about suicide or for those concerned about family or friends.
  • Youthline (open 24/7)
    0800 376 633. You can also text 234 between 8am and midnight or email talk@youthline.co.nz
  • Your local Rural Support Trust
    0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)
  • Alcohol Drug Helpline (open 24/7)
    0800 787 797