Engage Aotearoa

Category Archives: Engage Updates

Engage Update: Slowly coming out of hibernation

It’s been two years since our last update, and though the Engage Facebook page remains active, we are still in the process of slowly coming out of hibernation. Please note that The Butterfly Diaries is now officially out of print for the time-being and we are unable to accept new orders. We have funds to print one more run and plan to add the final two stories before we do that. We’ll update you when we have a timeline in mind. Our co-editor Michelle Bolton unfortunately passed away in June of 2016 and we are only just now beginning to think our way back into the project.

We’ve gone through a few transformations of our own since we last updated the Engage Aotearoa website. We couldn’t keep up with the demands of maintaining charitable status and a volunteer base when Miriam entered her doctoral studies and then began working full-time as a psychologist. We were so busy having governance meetings, we couldn’t get the actual work done. So we’ve abandoned the charitable structure and reverted back to our original independent, self-funded structure.

The website and many of the resources are well over-due for an update and that’s the first thing on our to-do list as we try to figure out what’s next for the Engage Aotearoa website. Now that we’ve got a doctor of clinical psychology in the house we might be able to see a little private practice tab in the menu options one of these days in the not-too-very-distant future. For the moment, we’re just going to keep the website alive and gradually update it.

The efficacy of a text messaging intervention for anxiety and depression among young people

One of Engage Aotearoa’s recovery resources, the Small Victories challenge, was included in the pilot of a text-messaging programme for young people with depression and anxiety at Youthline. The results of the evaluation were published last year in the Children and Youth Services Review.

Abstract
Background: Depression and anxiety are among the most commonly experienced mental health issues faced by young people in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Considerable barriers exist that prevent young people from engaging with face-to-face mental health services. Young people’s preference for technology-based counselling mediums such as text messaging opens up new pathways for intervention. Objective: A pilot text message-based intervention package was trialed for use by young people to evaluate the potential efficacy of the text package as an intervention for depression and anxiety symptoms.
Method: The text package was piloted using a 10-week longitudinal cohort pilot with 21 young participants (12– 24 years) who demonstrated mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression symptoms.
Results: Participants’ post-package scores were significantly lower than their pre-package scores for both anxiety (Z = −2.83, p = .005, r = −0.65) and depression (Z = −2.49, p = .013, r = −.056). ‘Feeling encouraged and supported’ increased as a result of receiving support from a trained supporter (Z = −2.06, p = .039, r = −0.45), but not from friends/family (Z = −1.72, p = .130, r = −0.37). Anxiety and depression scores did not change as a result of support from either trained supporters or friends/family.
Conclusions: Findings support the potential efficacy of the text package, justify wider trials of the text package, and support the use of text message-based interventions as potentially effective therapies for young people.

Read the full-text article by David Anstiss and Amber Davies here.

We’re Still Here

You will probably have noticed that things have been quiet on the Engage Aotearoa front over the last couple of years. We are still here, but we’ve been in hibernation while I completed the last two years of my doctorate. While we were in hibernation, the scale of things shrunk a bit, so we are now back to the original ‘team’ who built the site back in 2009, myself and Daniel Larsen-Barr. We’ll be slowly gearing back up again soon. But in the meantime background wheels are still turning.

We’ve already got some things on the horizon, namely the next volume of Butterfly Diaries with the final two stories, a call for stories from young people for a special youth volume of The Butterfly Diaries, and a bunch of worksheets from Engage Group, which I think are about over-due for being put online where anyone can find them. I’ve always been reluctant to put them online because I think CBT worksheets are hard and sometimes distressing to do alone without any guidance to go with them. So I’m going to add a sheet of tips to go with each one and you’ll see them start to appear over the next few months. I added the Thriving Lives Worksheet to the Coping Resources page not long ago, so check it out if you haven’t seen it already.

And any day now I will return to adding new strategies to the Coping Kete on a regular basis.

All the best,

Miriam

 

Engage Update: New Resource to Help Teachers Talk About Coping with their Classes

Engage Aotearoa is pleased to announce the launch of a new resource that has been long in the making. The Coping Posters Teaching Resource guides teachers to use The Coping Kete to engage students with the static image component of the Year 9 English curriculum, get them talking about how to cope with the rough parts of life and share coping information among the wider school community.

Taipa Area School Static image Comp 1st Place Engage Aotearoa

Winner: Taipa Area School Poster Competition 2014

This resource was created in collaboration with Ilana Hill. The Engage Aotearoa team met Ilana Hill in mid-2014 at a LifeHack Weekend in the Far North. She was then a Year 9 teacher at Taipa Area School who wanted to get her students talking about safe ways of coping with distress and get them excited about the Year 9 English curriculum. Over the following months we collaborated to create a set of guidelines that would allow her to safely explore coping with her students. Students would create posters to promote positive coping and The Coping Kete to their community, while they learned about static images. The top posters would be shared on the Engage Aotearoa website and the school’s newsletter where they could reach parents and other family members as well as the wider school body. Students were excited to create a poster that promoted an idea that might have an impact in the real world.  The winning posters were published in November 2014 and posted on social media.

The Coping Poster Teaching Resource includes Ilana Hill’s original teaching inquiry, guidelines for teachers that set out how to introduce the topic in the same way, poster guidelines for students, coping poster planning worksheets, a practice analysis worksheet and information sheets that define different static image elements set out in the worksheet. These align with the elements covered in the Year 9 curriculum.

Download The Coping Poster Teaching Resource here

Visit Engage Aotearoa’s Coping Resources page to find The Coping Kete and the Teaching Resource together in one place.

Engage Consideration

Hello from Engage.

I often notice, not only in the media but around family, friends and strangers, the pejorative use of the terms of mental illness – people use ‘crazy’ to mean ‘bad’ all the time. “You drove drunk? You must be insane!” “She stole all the money even though she knew she’d be caught – crazy!” “The only reason you would kill a person is if you were mad.”

Bad things are often crazy. Crazy things are rarely bad. I have read some fine pieces encouraging the use of phrases such as “crazy good” and “mad fun”, and I love these phrases and want to hear them more. The comparison I want to make briefly here though is to the use of the word ‘gay’ to mean ‘bad’, which is appropriately frowned upon. People seem to understand now that using the denomination of a group of people as a catchword for the negative is just not on. So I hope it may go for ‘crazy’ some day.

If somebody uses crazy to mean bad, call them out on it. Say to them, “Being bad may be crazy, but being crazy isn’t bad.”

Daniel Larsen-Barr
Engage Aotearoa Information Manager
info@engagenz.co.nz

Engage Facebook Updates

Here are a half a dozen recent highlights from our Facebook page. Please LIKE US!

Mr David Rutherford, Chief Human Rights Commissioner, releases the updated 2015 Bullying Prevention Guidelines on Pink Shirt Day at Silverstream School.
They call it waking up alive – that moment you’re aware your suicide attempt was not fatal.
Devastating news for vulnerable Kiwis
Relationships Aotearoa struggling to stay afloat.
New Zealand’s social welfare system “dehumanises” people in need.
Laughter yoga is the practice of deliberate, voluntary laughter. The idea is that forced laughter soon turns into real laughter.

Submitting Information to the Engage Blog

VoiceBoxMEgaphoneYou are welcome to send information about any mental-health recovery related news and events, whether it’s some new research, a consultation process, a new service, a support group, a social activity or a workshop. From time-to-time we will also publish guest feature articles and opinion pieces. To include your notice in the Blog, please send the following information, in the main body of an email with any related images or documents attached to admin@engagenz.co.nz.

What to Send

Title:  Your Headline Like This.
Description/Information: Please use third person when describing your events and activities to make the source of the information clear (i.e. avoid using ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘my’ or ‘our’ unless it is part of a quote or an opinion piece). Have a look at some existing posts if you are unsure.
Date/Time:
Location/Address:
Contact Details: Organisation/Group, Person, Email, Phone Number.
Link for Further Information:  Facebook page, website etc

You may want to include images or attachments in your post.

  • Poster/Flyer/Logo Images: jpeg or GIF format, file-size of 200 KB or less
  • Attachments: pdf or doc format, file-size of 1 MB or less

Submit your items at least one month before you need them to be published online.

Engage Facebook Highlights

Here are a half a dozen recent highlights from our Facebook page. Please LIKE US!

Nuggets
Kiwi tastes a golden nugget. It’s delicious. Superb animated film about addiction.

Writing from the Toi Ora Creative Writers in the ArtWeek zine
Toi Ora writers make a splash: writing from Matthew Savage, Liz Higgins, Andrew Holdaway and more.

Nine Things Every Parent with an Anxious Child Should Try
Your child turns to you and says, “I don’t want to take the bus. My stomach hurts. Please don’t make me go.” A discussion

Public lecture by Professor Rosalind Gill: Sexting, sexualisation and sexism
Modern youth sexuality, sexting and the sexy selfie. 27 November 2014, 6pm.

Finding the Treatment Options that Suck Less
The Crazymeds Manifesto: to help you find treatment options that suck less.

Worst Things to Say to a Person With Bipolar Disorder
When your friend or loved one has bipolar disorder, here are the worst things you can tell them.

New Poetry Book Charts Trauma Recovery Journey

Engage Aotearoa’s service director can most often be found sharing other people’s recovery stories and experiences. But in her spare time she is a poet, and writing under her maiden name, Miriam Barr, she recently had her first major collection of poetry published by Steele Roberts Aotearoa, one of New Zealand’s leading publishers of home-grown poetry.

Bullet-hole-riddle-FRONTcoverThe book features cover art by Elke Finkenauer and interior art from Andrew Blythe‘s untitled ‘No’ series. The back-cover reads, “Bullet Hole Riddle is a three-part narrative sequence charting one person’s journey to make sense of an unwanted history. Framing personal experience as a series of collective acts, Miriam Barr’s first major collection of poetry tells a story about the human psyche and the spaces between us.”

Those familiar with Engage Aotearoa will know what Miriam means when she comments on the Engage Facebook page, “I guess this [Bullet Hole Riddle] is kinda like my Butterfly Diaries story in a way. In poetry form.”

An Auckland Women’s Centre article by Sabrina Muck goes on to say, “Tied into the overall message of the book, it is worth noting its dedication, which tells us this is for the untold stories. Speaking with Miriam in the week following the announcement of the Roastbusters outcome, she felt this was particularly relevant in light of the young women’s experiences in that case, and the voices of too many survivors which continue to go unheard. Steele Roberts is to be commended for supporting this book on its journey and bringing Miriam’s voice into the public sphere.”

The CMHRT Board of Trustees and the volunteer team at Engage Aotearoa would like to congratulate Miriam for her poetic achievement and wish her all the best for Bullet Hole Riddle’s journey into the world.

Bullet Hole Riddle can be ordered online at www.steeleroberts.co.nz or from your local bookseller. Copies are available to borrow at Auckland City Libraries and the Auckland Women’s Centre Library. Check out reader reviews and share your own at GoodReads.com. Find out more about the book at www.miriambarr.com/bulletholeriddle.

New Ways to Get on Board with Engage Aotearoa

Twitter.com/EngageAotearoa

Twitter.com/EngageAotearoa

Follow us on Twitter

Engage Aotearoa has at long last joined the Twitter revolution. There is now one more way to find and share recovery information.

Follow us at www.twitter.com/EngageAotearoa and tag us in your recovery-relevant posts using the Twitter handle @EngageAotearoa

 

A page of ways to get involved and support our mahi

We’ve put together a page of ways to support Engage Aotearoa’s mission to make it easier for people to find recovery resources.

Engage Aotearoa does a lot with a little and we could use all the help we can get.