Authors: Angela Gruar, Patrice Dennis
Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Building wellbeing and resilience in communities: Using a co-facilitation model to build mental health and addiction literacy across workplaces and communities.
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Angela Gruar is the Manager for Learning and Development across Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui and Blueprint for Learning. Angela oversees a range of mental health, addiction and disability learning and development products and programmes which support an overarching workforce development approach for people working in those areas. Blueprint for Learning is a NZQA PTE and they work closely with Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui which is a national evidence based workforce development centre for the mental health, addiction and disability sectors. The work Te Pou and Blueprint undertakes is to realise the potential of the workforce to support the wellbeing and mental health of all New Zealanders. Prior to her current role, Angela worked in the public sector across a range of organisations, including the Ministry of Health.
Patrice Dennis has worked as a registered nurse in the mental health and addiction sector in Aotearoa for 15 years, in a number of nursing and education roles. In her current role, she provides leadership for the successful delivery of MH101 workshop. MH101 is a one-day workshop that is designed to increase the confidence of frontline government and social agency staff who will encounter people with experience of mental distress and/or addictions. It is now delivered to a variety of organisations and communities across Aotearoa. She has always been committed to working in partnership with people, their whānau and communities, acknowledging and valuing peoples’ personal experiences as well as her own. She is passionate about continuing to improve mental health care and understanding in Aotearoa.
Building wellbeing and resilience in communities is essential in being able to prevent or reduce mental distress. Within communities, it is essential that all people have an understanding of how they might recognise that someone is experiencing distress, how they might relate to someone and how they might respond. If people are supported well in communities, we can sequentially build resilience within people and across communities.
By increasing the mental health literacy of communities, we can also address attitudes, stigma and discrimination against people with mental health and substance use issues.
MH101, a mental health and addiction literacy workshop, has been designed and delivered in New Zealand for over 10 years to frontline government and social agency staff, and communities. The workshop is co-facilitated by a person with lived experience and also someone with experience working in the mental health and addiction sector. Direct contact with facilitators who have lived experience challenges discriminatory perceptions and stigma. This is very powerful in shifting attitudes, and is routinely commented on in workshop evaluations.
An impact evaluation in 2017 shows that people's increased confidence in recognising, relating and responding to people with mental health and substance use issues is sustained after six months.
Learning Objectives Learning Objective 1: People will learn how they can take a co-facilitation approach to delivering workshops and training to address and challenge attitudes, stigma and discrimination, and to build mental health literacy, wellbeing and resilience in communities.
Learning Objective 2: Availability of mental health and addiction literacy workshops, such as MH101, support a population health approach to mental health and addiction. If people address their own attitudes, stigma and discrimination and gain knowledge and skills in respect to recognising distress, being able to relate to people, and providing an appropriate response, people will be able to receive support within communities. It opens up conversations to raise awareness and people become more confident talking about their own struggles. It may lead to someone seeking help or just by reaching out and being supported without judgement may be all people need.If people are better supported by those around them in their own communities, it may ease demand on primary and secondary services. This approach was evident in He Ara Oranga : Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction (New Zealand). Increased awareness opens opportunities to have conversations around mental health.