The Eastern Bay’s specialist mental health service for rangatahi (youth) says mental wellbeing should be front of mind as students head back to school this week.

Glenda Gillgren who leads the Child and Adolescent (0-18 years)Specialist Mental Health Team, Voyagers, Te Kaumoana o Ruamano in Whakatāne says despite the unsettling times most of their clients and whānau have coped well.

“While the lockdown hasn’t worked for everyone, for some families we’ve been supporting, the feedback has been that having more time to be together and do things has led to an improvement in their child’s behaviour.”

The team has been keeping in touch with clients via the phone and online using apps such as Zoom.   Glenda says this has had its pros and cons.

“By connecting online or via the phone we have noticed a drop in the number of people missing their appointments, probably because it’s convenient, they haven’t had to travel and they have more time on their hands.”

But she says face to face communication is always preferred when it comes to assessing underlying issues impacting on someone’s wellbeing.

“There are signals you pick up that something is not quite right when you’re with someone that is fairly difficult to detect online or on the phone.”

Currently, the Voyagers Team includes nurses, psychologists, visiting psychiatrists, social workers, an occupational therapist, a health and wellness coach plus two amazing administrators. The team is supporting around 175 clients covering rangatahi and maternal mental health.

Glenda says, “Social anxiety is quite a common issue for the teenagers we see and as school goes back we are expecting that to have an impact.”

“It’s something we should all be mindful of; there will be a period of adjustment as they move from the home bubble back to school some will be resilient, for others it will be a struggle.”

Support is available. “We are back to business as usual as Level 2 has kicked in. We will be seeing clients face to face with precautions in place but also being mindful of some clients that may want to continue to utilise Zoom at times.  You can contact us on 0800 486 947.”

Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Lifeline 0800 543 354 Free text 4357 (HELP)

Youthline – Free call 0800 376 633, free text 234, email or Web chat from 7pm–10pm – or email or free text 5626

What’s Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds). Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday,
12noon–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat is available Monday to Friday from
1pm–10pm and Saturday and Sunday from 3pm–10pm.

Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age. Open 24/7.

Voyagers Free call 0800 486947

Free online support

In a crisis?
If this is an emergency phone 111

If you feel you or someone else is at risk or harm.
BOPDHB Mental Health Crisis Team
Whakatāne to Te Kaha 0800 774 545 
Tauranga 0800 800 508