COVID-19 and wellbeing

As children attend school (or not) during the different Alert Levels, our priority is their health and wellbeing.

Health and wellbeing support for tertiary students

Guidance for teachers

Some children may still need additional support at school or early learning services

Take notice of:

  • children who refuse to go to school or early learning services
  • periods of absence or increased sickness
  • changes in behaviours that don’t settle or are out of character.

We have developed tip sheets for teachers to support children who may be at-risk and to support conversations with parents and whānau

Tips for teachers – what to notice and how to respond

Tips for teachers – talking to parents if their children need extra support

Behaviour support specialists

If you usually receive disability support services at your early learning service or school, the Ministry of Health has engaged Explore to provide access to behaviour support services during the COVID-19 response. Explore’s Behaviour Support Specialists can:

  • Provide immediate wellbeing and support
  • Suggest ways to respond to any challenging behaviours
  • Discuss risks and safety planning
  • Provide other tools and resources.

You, your whānau or support worker can call 0800 000 421 from 9am to 5pm to access their services. You do not need a referral from your Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) agency to access these services, but you will be asked to identify your NASC agency.

Explore focuses on the wellbeing of whānau and caregivers, and has expertise and experience in delivering practical advice and support to whānau, children, adults, support workers and organisations. They are also setting up webinars around a range of topics of concern and creating access to resources and materials to support this work.

You can find more information about this service at the Ministry of Health website.

Ministry of Health – Explore(external link)

For children with a disability

Awhi@home is a parent-led Facebook page supported by IHC and partners including the Ministry of Education and Explore services. It provides support for parents with disabled children and posts include tools, resources and videos addressing common challenges.

The page aims to help you, as a parent of a disabled child, by providing strategies and tips, links to useful resources, information on COVID-19 and one-on-one support as needed:

Go to Awhi@home on Facebook(external link) 

Webinar for wellbeing

Professor McNaughton, Associate Professor Melinda Webber, educators Raiha Johnson and Jason Swann, and student Maya Edmunds, talked about the diverse perspectives of hauora and wellbeing.

You can watch the webinar on Vimeo livestream below:

New Wellbeing and Mental Health Teaching Resource for Teachers 

A new Mental Health education and wellbeing resource for teachers, is on its way out to schools nationwide.

Find out more about this resource


Kat Wells, co-author and health teacher from Lynfield College in Tāmaki Makaurau

Mental Health Teaching Resource

Nau mai, afio mai, welcome!
Kia ora, ko Kat Wells tāku ingoa and I teach at Lynfield College in Tāmaki Makaurau. 

We’ve been using this book with our students ‘mental health education and hauora, teaching interpersonal skills, resilience and wellbeing’. We know that young people who are happy, healthy, feel safe and confident in themselves, learn better. However, current research tells us that young people in New Zealand are experiencing unprecedented levels of loneliness and stress.

Schools can’t solve the mental health crisis alone but they do have an important role to play by checking in with students and supporting them through difficult times. As teachers, we can empower and equip young people with the skills and knowledge to navigate through challenges, changes and relationships.

This book can help support you and your school with this work. It’s a resource for teaching about mental health, including lesson ideas and activities, in areas such as hauora, resilience, identity, interpersonal skills, and wellbeing. The feedback I’ve received is that students really valued and enjoyed exploring these concepts.

Schools from year 7 and up will all receive a hard copy along with two ideas for teaching units, it’s also available online.

Nō reira, kia kaha, mauri ora!

The Ministry of Education partnered with the New Zealand Health Education Association to deliver hard copies of the book to schools with year 7 students up.

Teachers can download their free version of Mental Health Education and Hauora and supporting resources at https://healtheducation.org.nz/resources/mental-health-education(external link).

Urgent Response Fund

Schools and early learning services can now apply for funds to help address attendance issues, or support well-being, and engagement in learning, for children and young people following the COVID-19 lockdown.

Find out more about the Urgent Respond Fund

Guidance for teachers, parents/caregivers and whānau

COVID-19 Wellbeing Guide

We encourage schools and kura to draw on and share the COVID-19 Wellbeing Guide. It has been created to help teachers, parents/caregivers and whānau as they support the hauora/wellbeing of their children and young people.

The Guide was developed by clinical psychologist Julie McCormack, with support from Future Curious Limited. The third module is focused on preparing for the return to school:

Read the COVID-19 Health and Wellbeing guide – Learning from Home website(external link)

Getting Through Together resources

The All Right Organisation have produced a range of resources to support getting through tough times. These resources are great for everyone (parents, teachers, young people and children). In tough times, we all feel a range of emotions. This new series from their Getting Through Together campaign reminds us that these changing emotions are totally normal – and that however we may be feeling right now, we're not alone. It contains a set of eight posters found here(external link). Check out their other great resources.

Getting Through Together — All Right? website(external link)

Guidance for parents and whānau

Working and learning at home

If everyone in the family is learning or working from home - how do I manage this?

Your school will help children continue their learning, online. Keep children and young people engaged in activities at home and, wherever possible, remaining part of their usual routines. Some young people need additional quiet and space at home for their learning. Young people in years 12-13 may have the flexibility to attend school if they need to access equipment etc. This will all support their wellbeing, connection with others and their learning. If you need help with this, contact your school or your local Ministry of Education office.

Further information

Helping children and young people while they are learning at home

Supporting children and young adults

During a period of disruption, our feelings of safety can be undermined. Below are some suggestions for helping the children and young people in your lives cope with the COVID-19 response:

Behaviour support specialists

If you usually receive disability support services at your early learning service or school, the Ministry of Health has engaged Explore to provide access to behaviour support services during the COVID-19 response. Explore’s Behaviour Support Specialists can:

  • Provide immediate wellbeing and support
  • Suggest ways to respond to any challenging behaviours
  • Discuss risks and safety planning
  • Provide other tools and resources.

You, your whānau or support worker can call 0800 000 421 from 9am to 5pm to access their services. You do not need a referral from your Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) agency to access these services, but you will be asked to identify your NASC agency.

Explore focuses on the wellbeing of whānau and caregivers, and has expertise and experience in delivering practical advice and support to whānau, children, adults, support workers and organisations. They are also setting up webinars around a range of topics of concern and creating access to resources and materials to support this work.

Find out more about Behavior Support Specialists – Ministry of Health(external link)

Preventing harm from bullying, racism and discrimination

Every learner has the right to a safe, healthy and supportive learning environment, where they are accepted and respected, and an education that values their identity, language and culture, and those of their family and whānau. It’s important to remember that if bullying occurs for whatever reason, bullying prevention is everyone’s responsibility.

Keep encouraging tolerance and respect and kindness for each other:

  • Some individuals may choose to wear face masks, as it is part of their cultural practice to do so to support their hygiene needs.
  • Encourage respect - people are being proactive in keeping themselves and families safe.
  • Where children and students are not respected, or treated fairly, or discriminated against - respond fairly and effectively.
  • Speak out against negative behaviours, including negative statements on social media about groups of people, or exclusion of people who pose no risk from regular activities.

You may find some of the information on the Bullying Free NZ website useful in supporting your children and students and creating a culture of support:

Bullying Free NZ(external link)

Race-based abuse

If you experience race-based abuse or it is brought to your attention, whether online or in the community, you can seek help from Netsafe or the Human Rights Commission.

This kind of behaviour is absolutely unacceptable, and we encourage anyone experiencing discrimination to make a complaint.

More information can be found on the Netsafe page on race-based online abuse and New Zealand Human Rights Commission website:

Race-based online abuse – NetSafe(external link)

Making a complaint – New Zealand Human Rights Commission(external link)

Ministry of Health Melon app

The Ministry of Health has a variety of support, tools and resources to help young people manage anxiety due to the uncertainty and change caused by COVID-19.

The Melon app is an example of an online tool that offers help as part of the COVID-19 response.  Melon has been ramping up content specific to young people which can be found at melonhealth.com/manual(external link)

The Ministry of Health will soon be adding new resources including videos and an Anxiety Toolkit course. This five-session course is aimed at the 13+ age group and focuses on learning how to accept yourself, build confidence and manage emotions to help get through tough times.

 

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback