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If you need help reach out

For most of us, our daily lives are very different right now and being in lockdown can make us experience all sorts of things: anxiety, loneliness and fear just to name a few.

This is why the North Waikato Combined Emergency Operations Centre (NWCEOC) – a joint initiative between Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council – want people to know it is normal to not feel ok all the time. They’re encouraging people if they need to seek help they can by calling 1737. This is the Ministry of Health’s 24-hour confidential support line.

Paul Blewman, one of four shift controllers for the NWCEOC, says now more than ever it’s vital people look after their mental and physical health.

“We want people to remember we are in isolation, but we should not be isolated. So, if you feel you’re not coping it's important to know there are health professionals out there who you can talk with if you need too.

“We understand the uncertainty and experience of lockdown can impact different people in different ways. So, if you or any of your family or friends are struggling with emotions or feeling the pressures of this sudden change to life you can call the 1737 support line to speak with a trained councillor,” Mr Blewman says.

“Even if you feel you are doing ok I encourage you to have a look at some of the wellbeing campaigns and public information out there, including the Getting Through Together – Whāia E Tātou Te Pae Tawhiti toolkit which has been created by the Mental Health Foundation.

“The online toolkit, available at, has been set up for coping with the effects of  COVID-19 and the Alert Level 4 lock down and provides proven ways you can help yourself and others during lockdown.

“It’s important we don’t let these uncertain emotions build up and is a great resource with a range of fun and easy activities to boost morale.”

A few other tips to look after your mental health and wellbeing from the Mental Health Foundation include: 

  • Find ways to connect 
  • Find ways to take notice 
  • Find ways to be active 
  • Find ways to give  
  • Find ways to keep learning 
  • Spend time with nature 
  • Stick to your routine (or start a new one) 
  • Explore different ways to relax 
  • Limit the amount of news you follow 

Big aroha Waikato. We will get through together.

Editors notes:

The combined emergency operations centre (NWCEOC) is not just about support for residents. The teams at the centres provide logistics support for the establishment of community-based testing centres, managed the creation of isolation sites for freedom campers, communicate regional and local public safety messaging and work closely with staff at both councils as they deliver essential services.

A localised helpline is also set up for Waikato people struggling to get goods and services. The helpline is for people who are out of food now, about to run out, and can’t get to a store and don’t have friends and family locally to help. Anyone who falls in this category, and lives in the Waikato can call freephone 0800 800 405.  

For more information on business or other support services or the health response to COVID-19 visit for more information.

For more information please contact:
Teresa Hancock
Senior Communications & Engagement Advisor
Waikato District Council
027 706 5776