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‘You’re Awesome’: Mental health advice phone line for GPs especially busy during lockdown

Dr. Cheryl Bohai supports GPs at Waitemata DHB with mental health advice.

Chris McCain/Staff

Dr. Cheryl Bohai supports GPs at Waitemata DHB with mental health advice.

You Awesome campaign, led by the three DHB organizations in Auckland and supported by Things, is an opportunity to reward healthcare workers for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit youreawesome.co.nz to purchase a worker voucher that they can redeem through a local business.

Dr. Cheryl Bohai is a Primary Care Communications Psychiatrist at Waitamata District Health Board.

What is the best thing about your business?

My role includes providing clinicians in West Auckland with professional mental health support. I also have a GP mental health counseling phone line for part of the week to provide mental health advice to Waitematā DHB GPs. This advice line has been particularly busy during the lockdown.

I am heavily involved in endemic planning for the specialist mental health and addiction department and in shaping mental health support for Covid-19 hospital patients or those in home isolation. I also teach medical students about psychiatry rotations. This has been a challenging time for the students, whose placements have been affected by the closure, as nearly all of their clinical work has been carried out.

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The best thing about my role is to work with GPs, their teams and other healthcare providers to support those in our community who are struggling with their mental health. I have enjoyed getting out to different GP practices and attending different forums to discuss and teach mental health work.

How was it working during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Working during the pandemic was difficult because it was not possible to visit GP practices in person. Much of my GP support became virtual or over the phone, which sometimes became a juggling act while young children were at home.

The points would be to spend more time with my family and to have the opportunity to slow down, as many places were closed at that time and a lot of things canceled.


Let’s set the record straight: Any claims that the Covid-19 vaccine can cause sterility are unfounded.

What do your family and friends think of your work? Were you worried about them during the pandemic?

My friends and family think I have a great and amazing job, because I participate in many interesting initiatives and collaborate with people inside and outside DHB. My various roles, including teaching to medical students, make my job interesting.

I have worried for family and friends during the pandemic, especially the very old, the very young who cannot be vaccinated and those who live abroad where Covid has less control.

Dr. Buhai hopes to spend some of her summer thinking about 2021 and preparing for 2022.

Chris McCain/Staff

Dr. Buhai hopes to spend some of her summer thinking about 2021 and preparing for 2022.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy spending time with family and friends, going out for meals, watching movies, going to concerts and traveling.

Whenever I spend some quiet time at home, I’m usually addicted to a TV series of some sort, usually a legal drama or something first responder.

What is your idea of ​​a good summer? Are you going to have a break during the summer?

A good summer would be spending time with family, getting to know friends, some from high school and college days, and going for a short trip somewhere. I’m going to have a long break this summer, so I’m really looking forward to reflecting on the past year, setting some goals for 2022 and resetting.

Is there anything else you would like to say to those who are reading?

Thank you for supporting the healthcare workforce in the past year, especially our frontline workers. I wish you a great start to 2022 and a great summer ahead. Do the simple things that help you feel good and bring you happiness.

And if you haven’t done so already, please vaccinate today.


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