S70: Equally Well: Backbone Team – working collaboratively to improve the physical health of people living with mental illness.

Go back to Resource Library
By September 17, 2019 No Comments


Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Equally Well: Backbone Team - working collaboratively to improve the physical health of people living with mental illness.

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Rachel Kapeli is a project management aficionado, certified by PMI as a Project Management Professional in 2017. She joined Te Pou 2-years ago where her time is shared across multiple projects. In the New Zealand Equally Well backbone team, Rachel herds cats and wears multiple hats to keep the team on track.

Russell Roberts is the Editor in Chief of the Australian Journal of Rural Health, Chair of the Australian Mental Health Symposium. He is the Director the Australian Equally Well project team. Russell has extensive experience as a clinician, academic and service director of a rural mental health service he led an organisation of over 1,000 staff.

Dave Peters is a current service-user of mental health services and has recently returned to regular part time work after being out of the workforce for 13-years. He has experience in lecturing in Occupational Therapy and Service Development in the community mental health sector, as well as currently working on several projects involving the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The NZ Equally Well backbone team have supported the collaborative to where it stands today. Equally Well Australia has adopted a similar model and in August, 2018 the UK Equally Well collaborative commenced. In New Zealand and Australia our approach is based on the Tamarack Institute’s, and Surman and Surman’s constellation model of collective impact. This approach seeks to address the multiple drivers contributing to people living with mental illness dying up to 25 years prematurely.

This presentation will focus on the backbone team’s role in Equally Well NZ and Australia. We will reflect on the wins and what plans are ahead to further grow and enhance the impact. The presentation will overview the similarities, differences and collaboration between the two countries.

The NZ Government’s inquiry into mental health and addiction services cited Equally Well because of how we work collaboratively toward a common goal. In Australia, the implementation of Equally Well is an action the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

Backbone support is an essential component of successful collective impact initiatives. Our experience and learning, and their implications for good practice and application to other complex and entrenched issues affecting the mental health and addiction sectors will be explored.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: Participants will gain an awareness of how to work collaboratively, by gaining insight into the Tamarack Institute phases for collective impact, and how it is being used by the Equally Well collaboratives.
Learning Objective 2: Learning to work collaboratively is an essential skill for anyone working in the mental health and addiction sector. This is particularly important because co-occurring issues are the rule, not the exception. Collaboration is essential to maximise the impact that can be made through individual and organisational expertise, and to develop and deliver support services that meet the needs of the whole person.

Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui. (2014). The physical health of people with a serious mental illness and/or addiction: An evidence review. Auckland, NZ
Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui. (2017). The physical health of people with mental health conditions and/or addiction. An evidence review. Auckland, NZ.

This resource is only available for subscribers. If you have a subscription, please log in. Otherwise, click here to purchase a subscription.