The Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has spoken about toll the pandemic has had on his mental health for Mental Health Awareness Week.
During a Facebook Q+A session last night, Bloomfield revealed that during the first wave of the pandemic he often dealt with self-doubt and worry.
“I had many mornings, especially early on in the pandemic, when I’d get up and think, ‘Gosh, can I really do this? I wish this wasn’t happening.'”
Bloomfield has been open about his anxiety during the pandemic, especially fronting media.
Answering questions yesterday on dealing with stress and worry, Bloomfield admitted he was so stressed during those first weeks of the pandemic he began to dream about it.
“I really had to stop and say, 'Actually I’ve really got to be aware of when I’m becoming stressed and anxious.'
“I had to make a conscious decision that I’ve done all my training and all I can do is get up each day and just play what’s in front of me.
“As I started to get too tired and a bit anxious with all those [media] stand-ups it was the first time actually in my career that I had to be really in tune with myself.”
Bloomfield says the messages from the public of gratitude for the work being done by the Ministry of Health during the pandemic has been a "source of energy" for him.
“It helps me keep things in perspective as I go into the arena with the media.”
He praised his team for also helping him deal with his anxiety and his relationship with the media.
“I’ve got my team around me and they provide me with really good information.
“And then I can go in with the information...feeling like I’m calm and knowing that my being calm is really helpful for people watching - especially in a situation like this when there is uncertainty where sometimes there is bad news that we’re having to break.
“If I’m calm and giving people a sense of 'it’s OK' and that we’ve got this, that’s a really important thing for me to do.”