We are in this together
For many Asian or migrant communities there is a lot of concern about loved ones both near and far. For some of you, like recent migrants or international students, this could mean being on your own in student accommodation or a shared flat.
Whatever your circumstances, and regardless of your nationality or ethnic background, we are in this together. If you are struggling, please reach out, because collectively we are stronger.
Taking care of yourself and others
It is normal to feel stressed or lonely at this time, but there are things you can do to feel better – like connecting with other people. This is important for keeping up your wellbeing and can help you feel better. See the 5 Ways to Wellbeing video or check out the Getting Through Together campaign.
For access to high quality information, the New Zealand Government has a website, Unite against COVID-19.
The Unite against COVID-19 website also has some great advice on looking after your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Remember to continue to check-in on neighbours, older persons, and those who are unwell.
ASIAN FAMILY SERVICES
All health services are open, but you will need to call ahead first. If you have a health issue or long-term health condition reach out to your GP or other health professionals. If you or someone you know is severely unwell, call 111.
Asian Family Services (AFS) is working with Asian families during COVID-19. AFS provides free, professional and confidential phone or online counselling in a range of languages – English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Hindi.
AFS run the Asian Helpline (0800 862 342) which operates from 9am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and has a team of qualified counsellors providing culturally and linguistically appropriate support. Counselling is available by email as well. You can also find AFS on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
For Chinese communities, you can connect via WeChat (scan the QR code below with your mobile phone). There are weekly mental health and wellbeing articles to help you get through this time.
COVID-19 may have led to you having feelings of loneliness, fear of becoming unwell, or boredom. Here are a few suggested ways you can look after yourself:
- It is very important to stay connected with friends, whānau and others. If you need to stay home perhaps connect with these people via telephone, email, social media, or video conferencing (eg, Skype or Facebook Messenger).
- Staying connected means you can help each other, look out for each other’s wellbeing or just be there for each other, offering a safe place for sharing your thoughts and concerns. If you do not have whānau or friends to connect with, others can check in on you, for example, St John’s Caring Caller where you are matched with a volunteer who will call you and check everything is okay and have a chat.
- You may have experienced hard times before; you could think about the strengths that got you through these and how they could be applied at this time.
- Eat healthy food and drinks and if you drink alcohol keep it to safe limits.
- Keep regular sleep routines.
- Remain active – get creative with the physical activities you can do at home.
- Do healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. This could be exercising in your living room, building something in your shed, singing, or gardening.
- Visit the COVID-19 website for general tips on looking after your mental wellbeing.
If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, such as cold or flu symptoms, contact Healthline (0800 358 5453) or your doctor to find out if you need a test.
If you are offered a test for COVID-19, please take it.
A COVID-19 test is free of charge. However, you may need to pay for a test if it's for the purpose of entering another country.
Belong Aotearoa supports thousands of newcomers, migrants and refugees who have settled in Auckland. It has been a place in which these communities can learn skills, gain experience and opportunities.
CNSST Foundation offers a range of services including new migrant settlement orientation and support, educational and work programmes, recruitment services for both job seekers and employers, community initiatives, and social housing.
Shakti is a non-profit organisation serving migrant and refugee women of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin. Shakti, meaning strength, works towards a world where women and children are empowered to live a life of dignity free from fear and violence and are able to exercise their rights, choices and responsibilities.
The Asian Network Incorporated (TANI) supports Asian New Zealanders to develop strong and healthy Asian communities in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Access to government services
There are many key government services who can help you at this time.
Immigration New Zealand has developed a COVID-19 Migrant and Refugee Information webpage to provide links to key information and for recent migrants and refugees in their preferred language.
NauMai NZ is a one-stop information platform to inform and support international students when living and studying in New Zealand. This is an official government website with everything gathered together and written in plain English.
The Unite against COVID-19 website [link to https://covid19.govt.nz/] has access to high quality information, that focuses on what we can all do to help the country recover from COVID-19
The following webpages have information on employment and financial support:
- Work and Income
- Essential Workers Leave Supportfor people working in an essential service who may be in situations where they need to stay away from work and cannot work from home.
- The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment has a wider list of government links.
- Employment New Zealand provides advice on their websiteand for employment-related queries, or you can phone them on 0800 20 90 20. Interpreters are available for over 180 different languages.
- Know your employment rightsis available in 20 languages.
- Minimum rights of employeeshas information on minimum employment rights and responsibilities is available in a range of languages.
- Unite against COVID-19
Access to an interpreter
Remember if you need access to an interpreter the government’s helplines are available in over 180 different languages. When you call a helpline ask for an interpreter by telling them the language you speak, you will then be connected to a professional interpreter who will help you talk to the service.
"When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills."
Wear a mask
We know that wearing a mask significantly reduces your risks of contracting COVID-19. We know that COVID-19 spreads through aerosols and droplets when someone speaks, laughs, coughs or sneezes, even if they don’t have any symptoms.
When physical distancing is not possible, it’s particularly important to protect yourself and others by wearing a mask.
For more information on face coverings see the Unite against COVID-19 website.
If you are struggling to cope, and feel anxious or down
Please let someone you trust know. Don’t keep these feelings to yourself. There are people who can and want to help. If you want to talk to a professional a good start maybe your GP, or you can call the Depression Helpline about how you are feeling or to ask a question: 0800 111 757 or text 4202.
Remember that it is okay to share your concerns with others you trust and in doing so you may end up providing support to them too.
If you see it, report it
Some Asian or migrant communities have experienced racial discrimination, and it is not acceptable. If you experience, or see others experience racial discrimination you can make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission. This page is set up to provide language and culture-specific information for you or your loved one.
Immigration New Zealand want to hear from you about any concerns and issues you are aware of (specific to recent migrant and refugee communities). They would also like to know what information and resources you may need. Please email them your feedback.
If you believe your employer is receiving the COVID-19 wage subsidy, but not meeting the conditions they agreed to, there are steps to resolve your concerns or make a complaint.
Download the NZ COVID Tracer app
Download available here: https://tracing.covid19.govt.nz
The quicker we can contact people who might have come into contact with COVID-19, the quicker we can stop the spread of the virus.
Here’s how you can help support contact tracing
- Sign up today
- Share your up-to-date contact information
- Scan NZ COVID Tracer posters to keep track of where you’ve been
- Ask your whānau, friends and workmates to join in
Don't have a smartphone?
You can still register online to share your latest contact information.
For more information, head to https://tracing.covid19.govt.nz