Mental wellbeing

Looking after your mental health is just as important as looking after your physical health and we know from research people with CF are more at risk of anxiety and depression. Managing treatments, exercise and appointments, and concerns about your future can be challenging and exhausting, and staying positive is easier said than done some days.

Feeling worried about some aspects of your life, both right now and in the future, is normal. But it’s important you ask for support and help if overwhelming worry and sadness are stopping you from enjoying life.


Feeling worried or anxious some of the time is normal. But when anxiety stops you taking part in everyday life and starts to feel all consuming, it’s time to ask for help. It can be hard, but it’s important you ask for help early. Waiting for it to pass or just trying to get over it isn’t a good solution.

Anxiety is a recognised medical condition and often people with anxiety need help from a health professional to learn how to manage it.

Common signs of anxiety include:

  • Worrying too much than usual for 6 months or more.
  • Unable to relax.
  • Constant thoughts running through your mind.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Feeling irritable and restless.
  • Avoiding certain situations.
  • Always expecting the worst to happen.

You may only have a few symptoms but it’s still important to reach out. Find someone you trust to share how you’re feeling; this may be a friend, family member or health professional.

Anxiety can be treated and your treatment depends on how mild or severe your anxiety is. Treatment can include medications and non-medicine treatment options such as talking therapy, mindfulness and relaxation.

Learn more about anxiety


Depression is linked to changes in how the brain works. Depression can cause you to feel sad and hopeless which doesn’t go away.

Common signs of depression include:

  • A persistent low, sad or depressed mood, or feeling empty and without feelings.
  • Losing interest in activities you usually enjoy.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Problems falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Feeling irritable.
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty.
  • Thinking about death or suicide.
  • Trouble making everyday decisions.

Like anxiety, depression is a recognised medical condition and without help it can last for weeks, months or years and impact on your whole life.

Depression can be treated and what your treatment options depend on how mild or severe your depression is. Treatment often includes medication and non-medicine treatment such as talking therapy.

Learn more about depression

Finding the right support for you

Talking with family, friends, your CF team or a health professional is a good place to start if you're concerned about your mental wellbeing.

Health professionals, including your CF fieldworker, can help you access the services you need.

Support during COVID-19

Everyone in New Zealand has been affected by COVID-19. Changing alert levels, lockdowns and uncertainty about what the future looks like can impact your mental health.

Getting Through Together

Getting Through Together is a resource for anyone who needs a bit of extra help when times get tough. The campaign was developed by the Health Promotion Agency/Te Hiringa Hauora and the All Right? team to support the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders during COVID-19.

The campaign includes:

  • Online tools and helplines to help you get through.
  • Simple tips to improve your daily wellbeing, including changing your mindset, making time for downtime and connecting with family and friends.
  • Ideas from other people about how they’re finding their joy during COVID-19 – you can add your ideas as well.

Visit the Getting Through Together website


Melon is an app for Kiwis to connect with others. You’ll find an online community, webinars and tools to help you learn more ways to look after your mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19.

Visit the Melon website

Staying on Track

Staying on Track is a free, online course from the Just a Thought team, that helps you learn how to cope with worry and stress to help recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

The course offers practical tips you can start to use today.

Visit the Just a Thought website


Unite against COVID-19

The Ministry of Health Unite against COVID-19 website has a range of resources, tools and apps to help look after your mental health during COVID-19.

Visit the Unite against COVID-19 website

Anxiety Trust New Zealand

Anxiety Trust New Zealand provides support and treatment for people with anxiety and depression. They offer a range of services and its website has lots of resources and information.

Some of its services are free. Other services such as one on one appointments you have to pay for. If you’re a student or on a low income you may qualify for funding for up to 30 appointments with a psychologist and some health insurance plans cover psychologist appointments.

The Anxiety Trust NZ has a 24/7 helpline you can call: 0800 269 4389

Visit the Anxiety Trust New Zealand website

The Mental Health Foundation

The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand is a charity that supports people to improve and sustain their mental health and reach their full potential.

The Mental Health Foundation website has resources and information about anxiety and depression, as well as other mental health conditions. These are relevant for all New Zealanders and also offer support groups information about staying mentally well. 


Visit the Mental Health Foundation website

The Lowdown

Straight up answers for when life sucks. The Lowdown is a New Zealand website that provides information and support for a range of life’s challenges, including anxiety, depression, grief and loss and relationships.

Visit the Lowdown website
Support is a New Zealand website focusing on helping Kiwis understand depression and ways you can get help. It also offers a free, personalised online programme called The Journal which takes you through a series of online lessons about how to stay positive and create lifestyle changes to improve your mental health.



Mentemia is a New Zealand app that offers you evidence-based ideas and tools to help you learn how to be well, and stay well. It’s free for all New Zealanders.

Visit the Mentemia website


You can also find support and help by calling a helpline and talking with a trained counsellor.

Other places to find support in New Zealand:

  • Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.
  • Depression helpline: freephone 0800 111 757.
  • Healthline: 0800 611 116 (Available 24 hours, 7 days a week and free to callers throughout New Zealand, including from a mobile phone).
  • Lifeline: 0800 543 35, offers counselling and support.
  • Samaritans: 0800 726 666.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing

The Five Ways to Wellbeing from the Mental Health Foundation are evidence-based actions you can build into your life to help improve your mental health and offer practical ways to focus on your mental health.

Here are some ideas to help you incorporate the five ways into your daily life:

Connect: Develop and nurture your relationships with people

  • Become involved in groups; join your local craft, sports, choir, hobby or book club and enjoying singing, sewing, playing a card game, visiting gardens or croquet on the lawn together.
  • Gather some friends for a DVD evening; ask people to share a film they like.
  • Grab some mates and get into the great outdoors – go on a bush walk, go surfing or go mountain bike riding.
  • Take time to read your local newspaper or newsletter – find out what’s going on in your area, such as music or cultural performances, then organise a group outing.

Give: Give your time and presence

  • Take opportunities to support and advocate for groups, friends, family or neighbours in need.
  • Organise or promote random acts of kindness days at school, work or when you're out with a group.
  • While driving, stop to let a car into the traffic.
  • If you have fruit trees pop your excess fruit out on the street with a "help yourself" sign.

Take notice: Remember the simple things that give you joy

  • Be mindful of the first mouthful of food you eat. See if you can really pay attention to all the flavours and textures of the food, the act of chewing and the act of swallowing. During the following meal, see if you can be aware of the first two mouthfuls of food, and so on.
  • Take the opportunity to sit quietly in a busy place like an airport or a mall and notice the interactions between people.
  • Take notice of the night sky. Be aware of what phase the moon is in and how the visible constellations change throughout the year.
  • Go for a bush walk, try to identify the different animal and plant species you see and photograph them while taking the time to really notice what you are photographing.

Keep learning: Try something new or rediscover an old interest

  • Learn something you don’t know about the area in which you live by checking out the local notice boards for interesting talks and events.
  • Discover the name of the iwi, hapu, maunga and awa of the place you live.
  • Memorise a new word every week. Practice using it among friends and family.
  • Put your hand up for a new challenge/training in your workplace to broaden your knowledge.

Be active: Do what you can and improve your mood

  • Try a ‘Have A Go day’ with a local sports group. Look out for what’s on offer, as often, free equipment and tuition is provided.
  • Participate in a fun run/walk to raise money for charity.
  • Try tai chi classes for strength, balance and mental wellbeing.
  • Find out the most popular sport among your colleagues and then organise a match or tournament for staff.

Reference: Wellbeing, Mental Health Foundation