Mental health and disability industry veteran Lis Langstone hopes a nationally recognised workplace training programme will help her and her staff best support those with mental health and addictions in their local community.
Ms Langstone is the coordinator at Moerewa’s Midway In Northland Day Services Trust (MINDS) and is about to start Careerforce’s Apprenticeship in Mental Health and Addiction Support, together with her team of five permanent staff.
An industry veteran with over 15 years’ experience in mental health and disability services, Ms Langstone says the training will help her and her staff meet the increasingly complex needs of their clients.
“I strongly believe in the importance of workplace training, because the more things we study that are specific to our client’s needs, the greater understanding we have and the more support we can offer them,” she says.
“My staff and I have completed Careerforce’s Level 2, 3 and Level 4 qualifications in disability support and this year we are focusing on mental health, because that really reflects the needs of our clients.”
The most common mental health issues she sees in her clients include schizophrenia, depression and bi-polar disorder, with several clients having a dual diagnosis due to drug and alcohol issues.
She says the Trust was set up to give people with disabilities and mental health issues opportunities to learn new skills, make new friends, join community groups and have a great time.
Currently, MINDS receives funding for 50 people, yet delivers services for up to 65-70 clients per week from anywhere between Kaitai, Morewa catchment and the Bay of Islands.
“We don’t turn anyone away,” Ms Langstone says.
She says the support she provides is for more than just the individual client – it also helps their families and whānau better understand and support them through their disability and mental health journey.
“For me, the training has made me more aware of my client’s disabilities and has helped me see that the person who comes to me is a person with a complex array of needs.
“My staff and I are better equipped to understand why certain situations and factors trigger challenging behaviour in our clients, so we can do a better job of supporting them and their whānau.”
Careerforce is the Industry Training Organisation (ITO) for the health, mental health, youth work, disability, social services and cleaning sectors. We are the Government appointed body that sets skill standards, develops and facilitates achievement of NZQA qualifications across all our sectors. For more information please see: www.careerforce.org.nz