Mental Health

We have seen an increase in people coming in for mental health support.  Remember that most of us in our lives are going to experience mental health difficulties – this is normal.  By recognising this, and managing how we can cope better – we become more resilient, stronger, and become better parents, grandparents, and community members.

The mental health unit works with people and their families with a wide range of mental health needs, from mothers and babies with depression through to our old people with dementia and everything in between – such as anxiety, depression, psychosis (hearing voices).  Difficulties affect us all, and at times this can be overwhelming or cause us to do things we wouldn’t usually do.  Our goal is support our Cook Islands people to live their best lives

We have three new support workers starting to help provide more ongoing support for some of our more serious clients and are working out how to best use them in the community. 


We are also still running our workshops – on stress and anxiety.  We have had over 1000 people through these workshops over the past 6 weeks.  People can register through

Workshop times are Wednesday 1:30pm-3:00pm, Thursday 11:00am-12:30pm, 1:30pm-3:00pm.  The Friday workshops for those managing groups – bosses, employers, and leaders are from 9:00am-12:00pm.  These times may change depending on numbers.

If you need to talk to our team, free call 0800 1814 to have a chat with our team. They are available day and night.


The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as “a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, and can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.

Mental health is complex and the term ‘mental health’ refers to wellness rather than illness. For example, if we imagine mental health on a spectrum, it will be at one end represented by feeling good and functioning well. On the other end of the spectrum, there are mental health conditions (or mental illness) characterised by symptoms affecting people’s thoughts, feelings or behaviour and can cause harm to self and others.

Good mental health is associated with increased learning, creativity and productivity, social behaviour and positive relationships. In contrast, mental health conditions can cause distress, impact on daily functioning, lead to deterioration of relationships, poor physical health and premature death. It is possible to be diagnosed with a mental health condition while feeling well in many aspects of life.


Clients requiring support for their mental health condition can contact our team on 0800 1814. Clients can expect to receive psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. This method is used to treat a broad range of mental health conditions. The purpose of psychotherapy is to manage and control troubling symptoms to enable clients to function better. Treatment often depends on the extent of the problem. Mild to moderate conditions may require 1-2 sessions of therapy, while more severe conditions requiring secondary care will require up to 6-10 sessions and prescribed medication. Major and chronic mental health conditions may require multiple sessions and prescribed medication over a period of years. Most cases can be managed in the community setting, however some conditions may require hospitalisation for additional care and support.

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