Mental Health & Addiction update - our latest newsletter to share

Kia ora whānau

Robyn Shearer, Deputy Director-General, Mental Health & Addiction.


I hope you all had a chance to relax and spend some time with family, friends and whānau over the long weekend.

I know having that little bit of extra time off work helps me to unwind and do some of those small, daily actions, like connecting with nature, that support my own wellbeing.

As some of us move back into a fairly ‘normal’ life of work and school, I continue to hear good stories about how people are embracing some of the ways of doing things that we all got used to during lockdown.

One of the themes that comes through time again is that a little kindness can go a long way. Look no further than the story below from the team at All Right? about how Pasifika health provider, Tangata Atumotu Trust, have continued to bring kindness into the lives of their community. I really applaud this approach.

I’ve also been hearing some amazing feedback from people in communities like Northland who have started the roll out of Health Improvement Practitioners (HIPs) and Health Coaches in GP clinics as part of work to increase access to and choice of free mental health support.

One of the HIPs in Northland reported that, “A grandmother came to the practice with a thank you card. I had seen her 25-year-old granddaughter a couple of days earlier after she presented at the practice in a highly distressed and anxious state. Her grandmother talked with some relief about what a difference my help had made to her granddaughter and to the wider whānau.”

And another person shared their experience of these services: “The HIP helped me with my nerves through showing me a breathing technique. It sounds simple but this has made such a difference to me. She then introduced me to the Health Coach who has developed a healthy lifestyle plan with me. The HIP and Health Coach have been amazing...”

Having the right support available, when and where people need it most is a core part of the integrated primary mental health and addiction services of the Access and Choice Programme. And you’ll recall that in April, the Minister announced that a further $40 million will be invested over the coming 18 months so we can have HIPs and Health Coaches in about 130 GP clinics around the country. This means that by June 2020, these services will be in place for around 1.5 million Kiwis and the roll out will continue from there over the following three years.

This is in addition to the work we are doing to expand access to and choice of kaupapa Māori, Pacific and Youth primary mental health and addiction services, which will be delivered from a range of community settings. I'll have further updates over the coming weeks about these services.

Ngā mihi nui

Robyn

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Anna Arrol

Administration Assistant

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