South Canterbury District Health Board keen to build on momentum from King visit

Mike King speaks to Timaru Girls' High pupils in July. The health board is looking to build on the momentum created by ...
JOHN BISSET/STUFF

Mike King speaks to Timaru Girls' High pupils in July. The health board is looking to build on the momentum created by King around the issues of mental health and suicide.

The momentum provided by a mental health advocate's visit to South Canterbury is being used by the South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB) to provide better care for young people 

High profile advocate and comedian Mike King spoke to students at schools in Timaru and Fairlie in July, to try to highlight the issue of youth suicide and mental health.

At the time, SCDHB chief executive Nigel Trainor said it had spoken with King about talking to audiences about the best way to access the mental health services provided by the SCDHB.

An electronic toolkit for school guidance counsellors and smoothing access to mental health services are two ways the ...
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/FAIRFAX NZ

An electronic toolkit for school guidance counsellors and smoothing access to mental health services are two ways the DHB is looking to capitalise on the momentum created by King's visit.

Mental health manager Kathryn Robinson on Friday said the King visit had provided a "wonderful opportunity to showcase the local services in South Canterbury".

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Now, the board was looking to build on King's visit, which had "strengthened ties within the [mental health] sector", she said. 

"Many schools were able to be provided with hard copy resources to accompany the Mike King visits, and people from the wider mental health community were showcased in person at his community events.

"However one of the difficulties for teachers and guidance councillors is finding the time to wade through them to pick the best resources."

Wellbeing And Vitality in Education (WAVE), a partnership between the DHB and Community and Public Health (CPH), was putting the final touches on an "electronic toolkit" that would be given to school guidance counsellors, Robinson said.

"The work around resources has begun and the WAVE team continue to support guidance councillors on an ongoing basis."

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Robinson said a working group, comprised of SCDHB staff and those in the wider youth mental health community, had also combined to "review resources and provide the best pick to schools".

Over the coming months, the SCDHB would also start planning in the area of mental health for the 2018/2019 financial year.  

Robinson said the focus of the DHB currently was on "entry to service" and "ensuring a smooth journey" for those in "moderate to severe need" of access to mental health services.

Robinson said WAVE, the YMCA's  Adventure Development, Family Works, CPH and the DHB's maternal, mental health and addiction services were all involved in the process.

In June, SCDHB suicide prevention co-ordinator Annette Beautrais said services ranging from preventative measures to those designed to support people in the aftermath of a suicide were provided by the health board. 

Beautrais said "gatekeeper training", which equipped people with the skills to identify those who might be at risk from suicide and how to help them, had been given to school staff, particularly guidance counsellors.

Post-vention services, which provided help and support to people connected to someone who had died of suicide, were also available in South Canterbury, she said. 

"If you have a death by suicide, it's about knowing who is involved and being able to pull together particular groups to be able to support."

"Post-vention services ... co-ordinate activities and offer support to families and workplaces that are affected."

 - Stuff

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