COVID-19: Queenstown mental health services 'pushed to their limits' - report

Queenstown. Photo credit: Getty

Queenstown residents are struggling to access mental health support, according to a new community-led report.

It follows the Wakatipu Mental Health Forum held last year to discuss how to support the community's well-being in the wake of the pandemic.

The findings reveal residents are concerned that services are under-resourced, insufficient to meet their needs and are more reactive than preventative.

The report said 2020 saw unprecedented repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic, which decimated the tourism industry in Queenstown, affecting numerous businesses, livelihoods and relationships.

"The toll on the mental health of our community has been huge. Local services, already under strain due to increased population and a lack of resources, have been pushed to their limits," the report said.

"Our hope is that these findings are the beginning of a conversation that help us as a wider community to build upon the existing resilience of our members and organisations, and help us to work together with one voice so we may look to a future with better mental health and wellbeing for all."

The forum's spokesperson, Vanessa Van Uden, said residents wanted to help guide the wider recovery, resilience, and future wellbeing of the community.

"We wanted to come together to share our thoughts and find a collective voice to highlight the challenges and potential solutions for the community, by the community," Van Uden said.

Possible improvements mooted include better access and centralised information about mental health, stronger community connections, and increased resourcing.