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

Health Improvement Practitioners take time to connect and replenish

11 Aug, 2022 | Return|

Laughter is often referred to as the best medicine, which Te Tumu Waiora’s Health Improvement Practitioners (HIPs) were treated with at an afternoon of connection and self-care held last month at the Design Lab. 

HIPs are experienced and registered mental health clinicians who work in general practice to support patients’ and staffs’ mental health and wellbeing. 

The wellbeing event was organised by Clinical Team Leads Deb Bradshaw and Brendan Sillifant to celebrate the HIPs’ hard work and give them an opportunity to catch up, rest and replenishment. 

There was a selection of fun, creative, and restorative activities for the HIPs to choose from, including massage therapy, laughing yoga, arts and crafts, mindfulness, aromatherapy, and meditation. 

“Our HIPs have been doing hard mahi in our busy general practices during an increasingly complex time in our health system. They work between Canterbury’s three Primary Health Organisations and are based in 43 practices spanning across the region from Oxford, North Canterbury to Ashburton, so it is important we make time to connect and have some fun together,” says Deb. 

“HIPs see up to 10 people per day and the most common presentations include support for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Since January they have seen more than 5000 patients and more than 10,000 appointments have been made.”

General Practitioner at Cashmere Health Rosie Laing says our HIP is a valued member of our team and brings a wealth of experience to the role. 

“It’s brilliant to be able to offer patients a warm handover and to set up an opportunity for them to work on their wellness issues. The team and our patients really appreciate having a HIP in the practice. They make a huge difference to our service and sustainability,” says Rosie. 

Health Improvement Practitioner Leanne Willett-Hall, who works at Kaiapoi Family Doctors, Good Street Medical Centre, Rangiora Family Doctors and Woodend Medical Centre found the event motivated her to explore different techniques to help her own wellbeing. 

“It was a relaxing afternoon to check in on my nervous system and stress levels. It is important to practice my own self-care and wellbeing, which is a huge part of our recommendations to patients in our Health Improvement Practitioner roles,” says Leanne. 

“Initially I felt vulnerable trying some of the activities, which helped me understand how patients feel when we ask them to step outside of their comfort zone and do something different.”

Leanne also appreciated the opportunity to connect with other HIPs, reflecting the role can feel isolating at times, so it was a comfort to be amongst fellow HIPs.  

Health Improvement Practitioner Cara Tate who works at Pegasus and Silverstream Medical Centres in North Canterbury is new to the HIP team and found the event particularly useful to meet new colleagues and begin to build connections. 

“It was also a great reminder as HIPs to regularly engage in self-care activities that support our wellbeing. I enjoyed the laughing yoga and can see the benefits to help with stress and increase energy levels. I’m going to incorporate it into my morning routine,” says Cara.

Health Improvement Practitioner Lynne Henderson, who works at the Kingdom Clinic and Piki Te Ora – Union and Community Health Centre, found the afternoon a lovely way to connect with other HIPs and take part in some fun and restorative activities. 

“We don't often get time to see each other, so this was a great chance to catch up and have some fun,” says Lynne. 

For more information about Te Tumu Waiora go to tetumuwaioracanterbury.co.nz

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