To head towards wellness

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Te Tumu Waiora - Te Reo for to head towards wellness - is a new way of delivering wellbeing, mental health and addictions support through general practice.

The model puts mental health and wellbeing at the heart of general practice with focused roles, Health Improvement Practitioners and Health Coaches, working as part of the general practice team. This model allows for a 'warm handover' which means that a GP or nurse in the general practice can offer someone who is experiencing mental distress or addiction issues the option of seeing the HIP in the same location quickly – often immediately.

The HIPs and Health Coaches provide advice and support based on individualised goals, promoting self-management and work closely with local community NGO support workers to ensure people can access the full range of help they need.

Visit the external Te Tumu Waiora Canterbury website here.

Late in 2019, The Ministry of Health released a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Integrated Primary Mental Health and Addictions Services across New Zealand. 

This proposal was part of the government’s Wellbeing Budget 2019 announcement and focused on one element of a new mental health pathway. This proposal included:

  • peer/cultural health coaches
  • health improvement practitioners 
  • support for general practice
  • seamless access to cultural and social supports, and 
  • effective links and coordination between primary and secondary mental health and addiction services. 

The ministry sought collaborative responses to deliver the service to the enrolled population of selected general practices within a defined geographical area. 

Canterbury Clinical Network facilitated the development of the Canterbury response. Development of this response included the establishment of a sponsorship group of the three PHOs, Navigate Waitaha and the CDHB. This group was supported by the discussions and decisions put forward by a technical advisory group (TAG). 

A co-design workshop was held 6 September and the key themes from that were incorporated into Canterbury's proposal. The Te Tumu Waiora model, recently piloted both nationally and regionally, was referenced in the design of a Canterbury response

Latest News

Patients reap the benefits of general practice-based wellbeing support

21 Dec, 2021 | Return|

In a world where we’re rushing here, there, and everywhere, it can be challenging to find the time and the right person to talk - kōrero with about our wellbeing. 

Health Coach at Barrington Medical Centre (MC), Olivia Maisey, says this is where Te Tumu Waiora – an initiative that puts wellbeing, mental health and addiction support at the heart of general practice – can help. 

Te Tumu Waiora Health Improvement Practitioners (HIPs) and Health Coaches (HCs) are located within general practice and are available to spend time with people to talk over concerns and plan how to manage their health better. “As a HC I kōrero with people and offer advice, information and skills to support behaviour and lifestyle changes to improve people’s physical and mental health,” says Olivia. 

“The overwhelming response from patients has been gratefulness – that they can speak to me at no cost, and they’re not being rushed through things, such as cholesterol and blood test results.”

Olivia says people often feel less embarrassed and judged when talking to someone they don’t know, so they are more honest and open if the initial plan hasn’t worked, and it needs to be revised.

“I’ve worked in various health promotion roles and studied public health, so I have a good knowledge of what other services are available to help with mental health, addiction, nutrition, becoming smoke-free, exercise, kaupapa Māori health, wellbeing and social needs.”

Olivia and the HIP have run a series of group sessions called ‘mood, food and mobility’ aimed at older women. The sessions covered the five ways to wellbeing, dealing with grief, and included guest speakers from Sport Canterbury and Senior Chef. 

“The sessions have finished, but the members still meet as they have formed friendship, which is great for their social wellbeing.”

“We’re aiming to target other groups, such as men with diabetes and have also done some cultural development sessions with the practice team, starting with te reo Māori and translating signage to be more inclusive.”

Recently Olivia helped one woman lower her cholesterol and increase her overall wellbeing. She’s now learnt how to read food labels; exercising is no longer a chore and she’s got her husband on board too.

Another patient was having trouble sleeping and was concerned about her weight. Just the simple gesture of Olivia asking her how she was and having the time to listen to the answer and offer help was all she needed to kick start a wellbeing plan.

Olivia says that the HIPs and HCs are on hand and familiar to practice patients. “I don’t have to explain where to find me because I’m at their practice, which makes everything simple and familiar for them.”

Barrington MC Practice Manager Claire Hannington says the practice team introduced Te Tumu Waiora as they could see the increasing need among their patients for more wellbeing and mental health support.

“It has freed up our GPs and nurses to concentrate on other areas of general practice and it’s reassuring to hear patients say they are progressing and feeling better due to the time spent with the HIP or HC,” says Claire.

Clare says, it works so well for everyone because the service is onsite, accessible, and free. Our patients have been positive about it because it gives them a definite way forward. 

Image above: L-R: General Practitioner Dr Srimala Kumarapaapillai with Health Coach Olivia Maisey.

About the Author


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Useful resources

Te Tumu Waiora website

A new website explaining TTW for our community.

Information flyer

Information about Te Tumu Waiora Canterbury for practices and patients.

HIP and HC posters

Posters for practices to display explaining what HIP and HC roles.

VIDEO - Overview of TTW

Video describing the role of HIPS and Health Coaches.

Video - HIP role

Tara Mueller, a Health Improvement Practitioner, talks about her role.

Video - Health Coach role

Health Coaches in Aotearoa New Zealand