In the face of rising Covid lockdown stress, Gumboot Friday has launched its free online counselling services for Kiwis 25-years-old and under.
The charity, which falls under I AM HOPE, founded by mental health advocate Mike King, already has 170 registered counsellors available for online therapy sessions, with this number continuing to grow daily.
“While covid is front of most people’s minds, the biggest challenge facing our young people is isolation. It’s being stuck in their bubble and feeling cut off from friends,” King says.
“The common theme we have found in kids struggling with their mental health, is an incessant inner critic. It is that little voice that has them second guessing the things they do, say and see throughout the day. And the worst thing for anyone with an overactive inner critic is to be locked up in a room or a house by themselves.”
With depression and anxiety statistics continuing to rise with the onset of the pandemic in 2020, New Zealand’s overburdened mental health services is at a breaking point; the consequences resulting in young people falling through the gaps and leading to irreversible tragedy.
“Think about the last time you were left alone by yourself for days on end. You start thinking about all the horrible things that have happened to you or you’ve seen,” King says.
“Terrible news you’ve read or heard. You may end up ruminating on these corrosive thoughts. It’s more critical than ever to be able to seek support and get it in appropriate timing.”
Since its launch three years ago, Gumboot Friday has raised over $2 million for free counselling, the equivalent of picking up the bill for over 16,000 critical counselling sessions to more than 3900 New Zealanders.
This year, the aim is to provide over 30,000 free counselling sessions by achieving the $5 million goal.
The new service can be accessed at www.gumbootfriday.org.nz by simply clicking the online option button.