By PHILIP CHANDLER
Queenstown mayor Jim Boult’s delivered another warning about mental health issues arising from the Covid-19 crisis.
Speaking at a function last Friday, marking the start of construction of Queenstown’s first surgical hospital, he specifically addressed his remarks to Southern District Health Board boss Chris Fleming.
While at Queenstown Airport that morning, he’d been approached by someone asking “what support have we got for mental issues that are going to come out of the situation we are currently in?”
The query came because a professional driver had committed suicide the week before.
Boult: “So that’s the sort of thing that we are going to face in this district.
“We’re going to have to be on our guard for that, and we are all going to have to be really vigilant to look after the people who are badly affected by what is going on at the present time.”
The mayor’s been sounding this warning even before the country’s border closure and lockdown started decimating Queenstown’s main tourism economy.
In early February, in response to SDHB delaying a promised local after-hours mental health service, he predicted mental health issues would only get worse as the fallout from Covid-19 continued.
“The tourism industry’s going to take a hit,” he told Mountain Scene, “and whether it’s your own business or you’re a staff member worried about your job, it adds another level.”
Meanwhile, it’s believed there was another self-inflicted death in the Wakatipu earlier this week.
● Need to Talk? 1737, free 24/7 phone and text number
● Healthline: 0800 611 116
● Lifeline Aotearoa: 0800 543 354
● Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865
● Samaritans: 0800 726 666
● Alcohol and Drug Helpline: 0800 787 797
● General mental health inquiries: 0800 443 366
● The Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757