New Zealand is well known for its struggles with suicide, especially amongst indigenous Māori and young people. I was privileged to be the first lived experience member on the Ministry of Health Suicide Prevention Task Force to help develop the first Suicide Prevention Strategy.
Every time we hear about suicide in the TV, radio or social media it has a huge impact on us and our communities. I led academic research into this which informed government guidelines on media reporting, this part was published in the peer-reviewed journal Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention.
How do we help people who do not engage with mental health services because of barriers like cost, geographic distance or even shame? And what about people who want to do things themselves and choose not to engage?
I was Principal Investigator on this research into over 600 people's experiences doing online CBT and self help and over 40 staff's perspectives on referring and delivering this service.
It's well known that people often struggle the most when traditional mental health services are closed for anything except crisis situations. Evenings and weekends are when a simple chat can help if people are feeling unsettled and prevent things getting worse. I was privileged to put together the first professional Warmline as a peer support helpline service.
What happens when people leave a psychiatric ward? How can they best be supported to transition back home and live well? This was the focus of the 'Exit And Recovery' project I led for community peer support service and its local health provider.