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Huge importance of eMental health solutions in the pandemic

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Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, the increasing issues related to mental health and addiction being experienced by so many people living in New Zealand were cause for major concern, NZ Health IT (NZHIT) chief executive Scott Arrol says. 

This was recognised by the government when, in the first wellbeing budget of 2018, an exceptionally large sum of money was committed to target increased services to be provided across multiple agencies, he says.  

“This included health, justice, police and social welfare who were tasked with pulling together their planning and resources to create a wider, cross-government approach recognising that issues related to mental health and addiction are not limited to only one agency in particular.

The pandemic has elevated this situation even further and there is a growing concern the current change to covid levels will add further stresses onto those already struggling to cope.

 

“Let alone adding to the burden of those who may already be at a tipping point.  Uncertainty is further accentuated by a likelihood of covid levels becoming part of our lives over the foreseeable future.

“An already stretched mental health and addiction service sector will provide as much support as possible to an ever-increasing number of New Zealanders. 

“This is where eMental health is a key enabler of a range of services to people based on their mental health and addiction needs.”

Robyn Shearer, deputy director general of Mental Health and Addiction, will be a key speaker at the free eHealthNews.nz live webinar on eMental Health and the pandemic September 2.

To support the growth of eMental health solution providers, NZHIT has established a special eMental Health Industry Group

The group aims to provide an avenue to engage with and contribute to the direction of eMental health activities, strategy and service developments. This will enhance the provision of services nationally and internationally where appropriate.

Arrol says members of this group are unified in their view that the provision of high-quality mental health and addiction services in this country is an extremely high-level priority that impacts across all of society. 

“As such, they have joined this group to provide a collegial and collaborative approach to ensure that eMental health solutions are fit for purpose and effectively enable mental health services provided by hard working health workers each and every day.” 

Two group members, Anna Elders and Anil Thapliyal, have expounded their thoughts in the Digital Health Insights with Scott Arrol podcast series focusing on eMental health. 

The efforts of the National Telehealth Service and the likes of its 1737 Need to Talk service must not be forgotten as they have been shouldering a heavy load during the pandemic, Arrol says.

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For further information contact Scott Arrol on 021 414631 or Make Lemonade NZ news director Kip Brook on 0275 030188

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