Apps, e-therapy offer practical mental health support

  • Hon Dr David Clark

The Government is making further support available for Kiwis wanting to look after their mental wellbeing as a result of change and uncertainty from COVID-19. 

The three discrete initiatives are: the Mentemia app developed by All Blacks legend Sir John Kirwan; a health journal app called Melon; and an e-therapy programme called Staying on Track.

These tools are funded by the initial $500m COVID-19 response health package, announced by the Minister of Finance prior to the lockdown.

“This is an incredibly tough time for many Kiwis, and we want people to know that they are not alone, and that there is support out there. The tools released today sit alongside the range of Government support on offer,” Health Minister David Clark said.

“We know that sudden change, such as the loss of a job or income, can place real stress on people. Added to that, the pressure of being at home and the isolation that may come with that, means these apps have never been needed more. 

“These three online tools give people practical ways to support their mental wellbeing and I would encourage anyone to take a look at them. 

“The Mentemia app was created by All Blacks legend and long-time mental health advocate Sir John Kirwan, tech entrepreneur Adam Clark, and an expert team of medical advisors. It provides users with practical tips and techniques to help them take control of their mental wellbeing.

“The app was originally aimed to be released just to workplaces but extra funding from the Ministry of Health means it’ll be available for all Kiwis throughout the COVID-19 response.        

“Melon is a second app which provides a health journal, resources and self-awareness tools to help people manage their emotional wellbeing. Melon also provides an online community for New Zealanders to connect and support each other and daily webinars for health and wellbeing.

“The Melon app will also launch additional resources in the next two weeks to specifically support 13 to 24 year-olds. 

“For people who’re experiencing worry and distress, the third support tool launched today is an e-therapy tool called Staying on Track. Its cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) teaches practical strategies to cope with the stress and disruption to everyday life from COVID-19.

“People will be responding to COVID-19 in different ways and the way we seek help and deal with our mental wellbeing is different for everyone.  Many support systems and services are still available through the lockdown, although they may need to be delivered via phone or video conference.

Last week the Government launched an additional two mental health support programmes Getting Through Together and Sparklers at Home – a set of wellbeing activities and resources for parents to use with children at home.

The Ministry of Health is also working with Mentemia to create content and tools specifically to support front line health workers and government employees in essential services.

Links: for Staying on Track