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.
How do we best deliver Mental Health services in ways people want it, when they want it? I feel privileged to be involved in one of the biggest shake ups in Population Health to unify four national services in Mental Health, Alcohol and Drugs, Problem Gambling and Smoking Cessation. I was the lead mental health writer on the original proposal and Service Architect for the development, design and implementation of these services.
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.
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 with a special focus on how the news stories are different when suicide involves online technology.
As well as informing government guidelines on media reporting, this part was published in the peer-reviewed journal New Media and Society.
How do we best bring lived experience into university research? I was the first 'Consumer/Service User Researcher' at the University of Auckland and sat on the Medical and Health Sciences Faculty Advisory Committee where I provided strategic and operational guidance. I also helped established and keynoted the first Service Users Academic Symposium.