People will now get mental health support from one place as part of a plan to improve health services across the Hurunui and Kaikōura.
The plan (model of care), jointly developed by the Hurunui Health Services Development Group and the community, recommended having more mental health support available in the local community.
This contributed to a roll-out of a new service, which boosts rural mental health services by adding specialist mental health staff to general practice teams.
Local people can get help from this service directly though their general practice, where they will be put in contact with the team member or service that best meets their wellbeing and mental health needs.
Paul Wynands, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Waitaha Primary Health said: “The changes have been made so our people can get the support they need close to their homes. In the past people might have travelled to Christchurch to access specialist mental health services.
“As well as providing support to the person and their family/whānau, the specialists consider the person’s whole situation and can link them to other supports they might need.”
Enhancing wellbeing and positive mental health for children
Another initiative that’s delivering dedicated mental health and wellbeing within Hurunui’s rural communities is Mana Ake – Stronger for Tomorrow.
Designed to enhance positive mental health and wellbeing for our 5-12 year olds, Mana Ake is accessed through primary and intermediate schools.
Across the initiative, the Mana Ake kaimahi (workers) have a wide range of skills including social workers, counsellors, teachers, youth workers and psychologists. They work with children one-one-one, with their families or with groups of children. They can provide support at school, in the community or at children’s homes. They also provide advice, guidance and support to teachers and family/ whānau.
Kaimahi help children learn skills such as coping with change or challenges, managing their emotions, building positive relationships or overcoming grief and loss.
Katie Thomas, Mana Ake kaimahi in the Hurunui, said: “It’s really important for our children and their whānau to get support as close to home as possible. Some of the families I’ve worked with were driving up to four hours every week for specialist support which puts extra stress and expense onto our families at an already stressful time.
“It’s a real privilege to provide flexible and responsive support – for schools this can be class-wide, group, or individual interventions.
“We also work with families and provide a holistic view which includes considering the other supports they may need and connecting them to those.”
Since it was launched in Hurunui schools (October 2018/ Jan 2019) and Kaikōura (April 2019), Mana Ake has helped more than 170 children – 79 in groups and 97 individually.*
If your child is home schooled or attends Te Kura (Correspondence School) you can contact the Mana Ake team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about Mana Ake – Stronger for Tomorrow here or about the HHSDG recommendations here.
* Until 31 October 2019.