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 ensure people know their rights and can get help making sure they are honoured? It's a challenging one for sure, but human rights are at the centre of modern society and can help address discrimination and foster social inclusion.
I led the evaluation of Korowai Whaimana (The Empowering Cloak) training - the world’s first education program on mental health and human rights by and for people with lived experience.
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.
For me DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) takes all the best bits of the better-known CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and adds useful tools from Eastern traditions like acceptance and mindfulness. I felt privileged to be able to help the country's only residential DBT service with strategic and operational planing to improve accessibility and continue to deliver services.
"A shove in the right direction, that was enough, I think it was just the fact that someone believed in me more than anything else, just someone saying you can do it" Evaluation Participant.
I led an evaluation of the first attempt at implementing the 'Housing First' approach to homelessness. Included a review of utilisation stats and interviews with clients, staff and stakeholders in Mental Health Homeless Team, Alcohol and Other Drug Services, Corrections, Housing NZ and Work and Income.