The New Zealand Government-funded National Telehealth Service (run by Homecare Medical) offers 24×7 free health and mental health support across seven digital channels.
The National Telehealth Service (NTS) COVID-19 response began on 7 February with the establishment of a dedicated phone service available 24/7 to a central front door for COVID-19 related health advice and information to the public. Today their response also includes Self Isolation / Managed Isolation / Quarantine Health, Welfare and Compliance Checks and running a Clinician Advice Line.
The Health line COVID-19 number has been widely promoted in all Ministry of Health, media and wider Government communications about COVID-19. And the work has been unprecedented – managing circa 2,000 contacts per day, 150 languages 24/7, at peak an additional 771 additional staff on board.
In addition, the 1737 Need to talk? national mental health helpline and the other NTS mental health and addictions services have been well-placed and resourced to respond to the increased psychosocial needs as they unfold. In April, contacts into their team were above pre-lockdown levels (up ~10%) and 2019 volumes for the same period (up 35%). The number of unique service users remains well above the 12-month average and many are new users of the service – with new levels of personal anxiety and psychosocial needs.
But this video isn’t about the numbers, it is about the important and privileged role they play in supporting people to access a path to wellness – taha tinana, taha hinengaro, taha whanau, and taha wairua [physical, mental, spiritual, and family wellbeing].