Coronavirus: Mental health workers warn of dire consequences of COVID-19 lockdown

Warning: This article discusses suicide. 

Most Kiwis are feeling anxious and distressed under lockdown, according to a new survey.

With redundancies announced every day, mental health workers are warning New Zealand's frightening suicide statistics will rise. 

An online survey by the mental health organisation Out of the Fog shows 80 percent of all Kiwis feel anxious and stressed while locked down in their bubbles.

A third are worried about job uncertainty, while some have already lost their job, or experienced a significant financial loss, and are struggling to afford food and bills like rent. 

Kristina Patterson the director of Out of the Fog says she's concerned the crisis could have even more dire consequences.

"Our suicide rate has been increasing every year, for a very long time and it is heartbreaking, and I am really concerned that we are going to see that rate climb into numbers that we've never seen before."

Patterson says the multiple stressors in the situation could impact the health of Kiwis.

Unemployment is already surging - more than 174,000 people are now on the jobseeker benefit.

That's about 35 people per 1000 - more than in the peak of the global financial crisis

The Government is being accused of not doing enough to mitigate the emotional fall out of its COVID-19 response.

"There's been $15 million spent on things like e-therapies and apps. Is it enough? No it's not enough," said Patterson.

Nick Hoyle owns a handful of businesses - but not all of them have been smooth sailing. 

Hoyle says he can sympathise with people feeling low because he's been there himself. 

"Having felt that, experienced that, this is why I'm so concerned for people's mental health around this situation right now, because for me, I went off the deep end," he told Newshub.  

He's worried thousands of business owners on the brink, are having suicidal thoughts. 

"There'll be a lot of people who are not sleeping well at night."

While some simple pleasures have returned with the country dropping to alert level 3, things still feel far from normal and Kiwis will need more help than ever to shake off the black dog. 

Where to find help and support:

  • Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
  • Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email or online chat
  • Samaritans - 0800 726 666
  • Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)