Authors: RASNZ – Refugees As Survivors New Zealand
Event: 2010 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: NZ
Award level: Winner
Award category: Non Government Organisation (NGO) Provided Services
Abstract: What: A multidisciplinary specialist mobile mental health team work with traumatised refugees and victims of torture. Why: To provide culturally responsive mental health care within the community and reduce cultural and transport barriers to service access; to improve refugee settlement outcomes; to increase capacity in mainstream services to work with refugees. How: A team of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, body therapists and refugee community link workers provide mental health treatment, early clinical intervention, preventive care and practical support to refugees at community venues or in their own homes. Target: Refugees and survivors of torture and trauma with mental health concerns. Where: Greater metropolitan Auckland region. The RMT is a new specialist service officially opened in November, 2007 by Prime Minister Helen Clark to provide mental health access and improve settlement outcomes for refugees and survivors of torture across metropolitan Auckland. The unique approach: Refugee Community Link Workers from the Afghan, Somali, Sudanese, Burmese, Ethiopian, Iraqi, Kurdish, and Burundian communities were engaged and trained to deliver services at the grassroots level. Team members travel in Prius hybrid vehicles to multiple satellite centres and into homes to deliver highly accessible services. A further mission is to share expertise and build capacity in the mainstream mental health services in working effectively with people from refugee backgrounds. The project was independently and externally monitored and thoroughly evaluated for two years from its inception through a separate grant from the ASB Community Trust. The extensive evaluation reviewed client, family and key informant feedback, as well as hard clinical outcome indicators. Description of Facility/Organisation: RASNZ is the specialist mental health agency for all incoming United Nations Quota and Convention refugees, and the provider of a range of vital treatment, rehabilitation, research, and community development services for refugees and survivors of torture. A charitable, non-profit NGO, the work is funded from the Ministry of Health, donors, and a partnership with the philanthropic sector. RASNZ currently has an operating budget approaching $2.7 million dollars and employs 45 staff from a range of professions including medical doctors, psychologists, nurses, social workers, physiotherapists, psychiatrists, community health workers, cross-cultural advisors, counsellor-advocates, and occupational therapists. RASNZ also is recognised as a peak provider of clinical interpretation services with over 120 interpreters in 30 languages. RASNZ engages an Interpreter Co-ordinator and leads nationally in training and supervision for interpreters. RASNZ is also the health agency working with asylum seekers and conventional refugees.