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A listening ear during stressful times

“It's about reaching out to love your neighbour....” Loss and Grief Centre Director Caroline Loo. Photo: Rachel Loo

A listening ear is available to New Zealanders experiencing stress, anxiety or grief due to households being isolated because of the Covid-19 virus.

Southland’s Loss and Grief Centre has introduced an Emotional Well-being Phone Call Service to support people anywhere in the country via telephone calls, email or social media private messaging. 

The nation is at Alert Level 4, meaning folk are isolated at home, except those carrying out essential services. Centre Director Caroline Loo says people may feel a variety of emotions.

“People might experience a whole lot of grief through the loss of freedom, security, routines, income and connections with other people outside of our family bubble.”

They might not be aware that what they are feeling is grief, because that word is usually associated with sadness when someone dies, she says.

There will be losses which people don’t link with grief, stemming from isolation, redundancies or recent immigrants being far from their homeland.

“It’s really normal to have lots of emotions around this.” 

Grief can include anxiety, fear, sadness, relief, confusion, uneasiness and uncertainty. 

“For some people it’s an anguish that’s really deep, that they don’t understand.”

Reaching out to support New Zealanders 

The Invercargill-based centre usually works face-to-face with Southland clients living with loss and grief. Since Covid-19 measures have stopped this, the centre has found a way to continue supporting its regulars plus others anywhere in New Zealand.

It’s not about Southlanders only helping Southlanders; it’s about Southlanders doing what they do really well, and caring.”


Caroline emphasises that the Emotional Well-being Phone Call Service provides support rather than counselling.

“It’s about reaching out to love your neighbour, letting them know they’re not alone.”

Ten of the centre’s paid staff and trained volunteers are now working from private spaces in their own homes. 

Each individual making contact will be matched with a support worker who is age and skills appropriate, she says.

Since the call service began on March 23, the centre has already supported 25 elderly folk from one rest home. She expects more people will get in touch as isolation’s effects set in, especially for those alone at home.

Caroline says that Kiwis staying at home for some weeks to limit the spread of the virus are being considerate to others, including strangers.

In so doing, they are “modern day good Samaritans…modern day heroes.”

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For further information:

Emotional Well-being Phone Call Service 027 443 8788, email [email protected] or Facebook

Loss and Grief Centre

People experiencing any type of distress can free phone or text 1737 any time


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