Wellbeing initiative provides long-term benefits for tamariki
Early intervention and collaborative approaches such as those being put in place by Mana Ake – Stronger for Tomorrow have been shown to result in a range of wellbeing benefits for children and their whānau, according to findings from a report released today.
Launched early in 2018 as part of the Government’s plan to wrap support around children living in earthquake affected communities, Mana Ake supports children at school and at home. It provides parents, whānau and teachers with advice, guidance and education about mental health and wellbeing.
The report, produced by ImpactLab, estimated the social value (the social impact in dollar terms for participants over their lifetime) for each participant is $23,652 – a return of $13.32 of ‘measurable good’ to our community for every dollar invested in Mana Ake. Authors noted the real-world impact is likely to be much greater.
“The global literature indicates that an early intervention approach focusing on the development of self-control and resilience can result in life-long positive impacts not only for these students, but for society as a whole,” says Emma Chatterton, ImpactLab Project Lead.
Emma added: “In order to create change, Mana Ake recognises that those who are best placed to identify and respond to the wellbeing and mental health needs of tamariki are their whānau, teachers and the social services, health care providers and communities that already exist around them.
“By highlighting the value of these relationships, creating shared resources and communication strategies and working to build connections between schools and other agencies, Mana Ake helps schools and communities to develop sustainable approaches that enable timely, locally relevant and evidence-informed responses for their tamariki.”
Ken Stewart, Co-Chair of the Mana Ake Service Level Alliance, says it’s the initiative’s ability to regularly evaluate and adapt responses according to need that generates such positive outcomes.
“We recognised a pattern of referrals from schools over time suggesting that self-control (the ability to recognise and manage thoughts and emotions) was a common underlying factor, and we have responded with a range of evidence informed individual and group interventions that help to address this.”
Mana Ake is designed and developed by schools, social service providers, Oranga Tamariki and the sponsor organisations - Canterbury District Health Board, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health – through a Canterbury Clinical Network-led Service Level Alliance.
Mana Ake delivers dedicated wellbeing and mental health support to children in school years 1-8 across Canterbury, with kaimahi (workers) helping children learn skills such as coping with change or challenges, managing their emotions, building positive relationships and overcoming grief and loss.
Although pre-dating the Government’s wellbeing budget in 2019, the initiative is part of a large programme of work designed to change the way mental health and wellbeing support is delivered in and by communities.
“Ensuring children and young people have early access to support that provides the foundations of life long mental wellbeing can take many different forms, so it’s important we tailor approaches to meet the needs of different communities,” says Toni Gutschlag, Acting Deputy Director-General of Mental Health and Addiction, Ministry of Health.
For more information read ImpactLab’s full report here or the summary here.
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