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

Talking Café connecting patients at St Martins

31 Oct, 2022 | Return|

A cuppa, cookie and a natter doesn’t sound like your normal prescription, but it’s proving a winning combination for patients of St Martins Medical Practice who are attending a newly established ‘Talking Café’. 

The café is run by the practice’s Te Tumu Waiora Health Coach, Rachel Kirkbride, to address the negative health outcomes caused by social isolation and loneliness. 

Ron Gardiner, a patient at the practice, decided to go along for a look and has now been attending for several weeks. Ron enjoys the companionship and appreciates everybody sharing their interests with the group. 

“We get a bit from everyone and learn from each other. We have a lot of laughs and I’ve made some good friends,” says Ron. 

Pam Derrett lives two minutes from the practice, so enjoys walking to the Talking Café rather than taking the car. 

“Rachel suggested the café was a good place to meet new people, especially after the isolation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Pam.

“You meet nice people and learn about areas of interest to keep fit. I tell people about the café, and they think it’s a wonderful idea, so more people should be doing it.”

General Practitioner for the practice Dr Lizzie Loudon had read about a similar initiative in the United Kingdom and decided to set up a local version. As well as Rachel, Tasha Wilson from the practice’s administration team runs the Talking Café.

“We had a vision of starting the Talking Café three years ago and thanks to Te Tumu Waiora it has become possible. I go to the café as much as possible and it’s fabulous to see the patients smiling and their confidence increasing. I also find it reduces the time this group of patients spend at the practice, because I can informally connect with them at the café,” says Lizzie. 

“Each week there is a talk on an aspect of wellbeing. Sometimes Rachel does this, at other times members of the group will share something. There are often guest speakers, such as our Health Improvement Practitioner, Physio and Occupational Therapist and topics have included Tai Chi, Laughing Yoga, Mindfulness, breathing exercises, nutrition, exercise and gratitude.” 

“At present most patients attending the café are retired. The next step is to engage younger people. We would love to build a space for generations to mix, which would benefit all.”   
Rachel says the aim of the Talking Café is to build people’s confidence so they can move on to join other established groups.  She believes the is a simple concept that can be replicated in any environment. 

“We’ve also done a diabetes and ‘Ageing Well’ group and I’m looking at doing a group for young mums who may be socially isolated,” says Rachel. 

View a video about the Talking Café here.

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