New mental health support line getting New Zealanders talking

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-04 19:29:46|Editor: Song Lifang
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WELLINGTON, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- A new, free four-digit phone and text number is running around the clock to help New Zealanders cope with depression and anxiety, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said on Friday.

Since the launch of the helpline, Need to talk? 1737, on June 29, it has drawn 1,716 contacts from 1,004 people, that is more than 30 people are contacting the service each day, according to the ministry.

"The trained counselors who manage 1737 say to date the top three reasons for people to connect with the service is feeling lonely, wanting to talk or wanting to work through relationship problems," Coleman said.

Talking through these sorts of issues early can help people cope with feelings of depression, anxiety or trauma, Coleman said.

The innovative four-digit number is a gateway for people to connect National Telehealth Services such as the Alcohol and Drug, Depression and Gambling Helplines, he said.

Many people are choosing to text rather than call for their initial contact with 1737, with 1,003 initial contacts via text and 713 calls, the minister said.

This new service is being supported by the extra 888 million NZ dollars (661 million U.S. dollars) invested into Vote Health this year.