In the New Zealand Health Survey completed in 2012, it was found that one in six New Zealand adults (16%, or an estimated 582,000 adults) had been diagnosed with a common mental health illness at some time in their lives (including depression, bipolar disorder and/or anxiety disorder). It could happen to anybody. You may have a friend, a family member, a neighbour or a colleague that may be afflicted with a mental illness.
The struggles are real for the person afflicted with mental illness and for their family or whānau. Learning about the different mental illness or conditions can help us understand how it affects the person and how to support them.
In support of Mental Health Awareness Week, we have created a video animation to help spread awareness.
Mental Health Awareness Week: Connect with nature
The Mental Health Foundation organises New Zealand’s annual Mental Health Awareness Week since 1993 under contract from the Ministry of Health.
Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) is endorsed by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) and marked in over 150 countries. It usually falls during the week of October that encompasses World Mental Health Day (WMHD) 10 October. This year the WFMH theme is Dignity in mental health: psychological and mental health first aid for all.
The New Zealand theme for 2016: Connect with nature for good mental health and wellbeing.
This week, take time to Connect with nature. Here are some ideas:
- Take your lunch break to a nearby park instead of sitting inside your lunch room or in front of your work station.
- Walk in nature with a friend or family.
- Organise a family picnic in your local park or by the beach.
- Tend to your garden on the weekend.
The Mental Health Foundation website has heaps of resources on mental health information. They are a Kiwi charity tasked to spread mental health awareness through programmes, campaigns and services that cover all aspects of mental health and wellbeing.
Developing the workforce to support people with mental health conditions
In consultation with the mental health sector, Careerforce developed the Apprenticeship in Mental Health and Addiction Support. The aim of this New Zealand Apprenticeship programme is to support employees to expand their knowledge and grow their skills. The underpinning philosophy of the programme is to build a person-centred, thinking workforce. The content continues to be informed by client needs and sector developments.
The programme includes developing the following core competencies:
- engaging and communicating with people, family and/or whānau who are accessing social and community services in a manner which respects their socio-cultural identity, experiences and self-knowledge;
- developing relationships and supporting the achievement of intended outcomes;
- demonstrating a knowledge of kawa and tikanga and the ability to relate the unique place Māori have as tangata whenua in Aotearoa in their role;
- understanding New Zealand’s health and wellbeing challenges and the impact on their role;
- displaying self-awareness, reflective practice and personal leadership in the workplace;
- actively contributing to a culture of professionalism, safety and quality in your workplace; and
- gaining an in-depth knowledge of a co-existing condition, impairment, situation or issue and applying the new knowledge to support clients.
The Mental Health and Addiction Support strand enables apprentices to develop and demonstrate the skills that they need to work alongside people, family and whānau to support autonomy by using tools and strategies to foster hope, support recovery and build resilience.
The Mental Health Support Workers Grant may be tapped into to cover some costs associated with the Apprenticeship in Mental Health and Addiction Support programme. The Mental Health Support Workers Training Grant is funded by the Ministry of Health to support training costs. Trainees enrolled in a certificate in Mental Health can receive a maximum of $2,000 and diploma trainees can receive up to a maximum of $2,500 each year for up to two years. Read more about the eligibility and the application process.
Updated 10 October 2016