Engage Aotearoa

Category Archives: Personal Development Tools

New programmes added to The Wellbeing Sessions

Whakatau Mai: The Wellbeing Sessions are a series of free online groups funded by the Ministry of Health as part of the national Covid19 response. They were started during the first Lockdown by the good folks over at Changing Minds who have curated a weekly calendar of zoom sessions that anyone with an internet connection and a device can join.

You’ll find regular sessions covering things like mindfulness, journaling, yoga, and managing work uncertainty, The Mind Tribe’s safe tapering group, and the recently added Realities Group, which I am really excited to see up and running.

The Realities Group
An opportunity for people who experience other realities to discuss their experiences and gain support, with the aim of better understanding these experiences and how to live well with them.  Based on the principles of the Hearing Voices Movement.
https://wellbeingsessions.eventcalendarapp.com/u/22079/91766

The Wellbeing Sessions will run through to February 2021.

Support group for people with experience of bipolar disorder

The Bipolar Support Group at DRIVE is run by and for people with lived experience of bipolar disorder in the Counties Manukau area. The group meets on the first Friday of every month at DRIVE Consumer Direction in Manukau to share challenges, offer support, and gather strength and hope. New members are welcome. At this stage this group will run until April 2021. More information can be found on the official Facebook Event Page here:https://tinyurl.com/y9rhd46k

For more information ring DRIVE on 09 263 6508 and leave a message.
Text 021 921 738 or email counties.bipolar@gmail.com

Trauma informed mindfulness

With all that is going on the world at the moment, there is a lot of talk about the benefits of mindfulness as a way to cope and heaps of useful tips being shared online. But learning mindfulness can be tricky, especially when we have trauma or psychosis on board, and some adaptations are often needed. So I thought I’d dig up a bit of information to share and came across this article on Psychology Today which sums it up nicely.

“While there is strong scientific evidence to support the use of mindfulness for emotional and psychological healing, it is also important to recognize how these practices can lead to increased distress. For those with unresolved trauma, the practice of mindfulness can be approached carefully and thoughtfully to minimize the likelihood of negative outcomes. […] For some, intentionally engaging in the experience of “being present” with thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations can lead to a resurfacing of unresolved, or even undiscovered, issues and feelings. […] At times, being mindful can leave a survivor feeling like they are trapped or helpless again.” Read more about trauma-informed mindfulness here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/nz/blog/choosing-your-meditation-style/202006/trauma-informed-mindfulness

If you find doing exercises like the Mindful SNACK difficult, this article might help explain why. Know that it’s normal if you’ve got distressing experiences going on inside. Go gently with yourself. Many people find it helpful to start practising for very short times, with things that are outside of them like the view, an object or a piece of music, or while doing something, like walking, eating, drinking a cuppa, or stretching.


Online Wellbeing Sessions from Changing Minds

During lock-down Auckland’s service-user network, Changing Minds, started sharing free peer-led support sessions online and this project has grown wings to make it easier for people to connect and take care of themselves during this extra stressful time.

Visit www.wellbeingsessions.nz to select from a menu of options from mindful journaling, fitness sessions, poetry readings, a drop-in support group, a supporting families group and more.

Mental Health Foundation Launches Mindfulness Posters

The Mental Health Foundation’s graphic designer Amy Mackinnon has created a series of posters that share the basic practices behind mindfulness. The A2 posters are available in a set of three from the Mental Health Foundation’s new webstore for $39 including postage and packaging.

Each sale is equivalent to the cost of one child in a low decile NZ school attending the Mental Health Foundation’s Pause, Breathe, Smile  eight-week mindfulness course. By purchasing these posters, you’re supporting the Mental Health Foundation to deliver mindfulness training to primary and intermediate students in their school classrooms nationwide.

Engage Consideration: Dutch initiative challenges mainstream thinking about psychosis

This post highlights a relatively new Dutch initiative that works to promote a helpful way of thinking about experiences of psychosis. The team at Engage Aotearoa recently stumbled across it on Facebook and thought it was full of information others might like to consider – either in their own recovery or in their efforts to support others seeking recovery.

Jim van Os and others have created a website, manifesto and set of audio-visual ‘explanimations’ to help people understand psychotic experiences in a way that allows for meaning-making and hope for recovery.

Much of the website is in Dutch, but an English-language version of the core resources on the “Schizophrenia Doesn’t Exist” website is available. It’s a provocative title, but the project creators do not mean to say that extreme experiences like hallucinations and delusions do not exist.

If you are not much for reading, you can watch Jim van Os’s TED Talk and get it all in a 15-minute nutshell or explore the 2-minute ‘explanimations‘ about psychosis and recovery on the website.

Visit the Schizophrenia Doesn’t Exist English-language webpage to find everything in one place. 

The Manifesto outlines “14 Principles for Good Care of Psychosis”. The first 7 principles address current thinking that frames psychosis as a brain disorder called schizophrenia and set out evidence for an alternative – Psychosis Spectrum Syndrome or PSS. The final 7 principles set out a vision for recovery-based practice, these state…

“8: To recover from PSS, a person must be offered hope and perspective from the very first moment. Recovery is a psychological process. It is a process of learning to adapt and develop a new perspective. With support from people with lived experience of psychosis and, where necessary, from doctors and therapists who support the process of recovery.

9: Every person with PSS should have access to a person with lived experience of psychosis from the earliest phase of treatment. A person with lived experience is in a unique position to offer perspective and hope (‘I was able to recover as well’).

10: The primary goal of treatment is return to the person’s environment, education and/or work. Education and work are prerequisites for recovery: even if residual symptoms remain, people can start picking up where they left off. The practice to wait for full recovery is counterproductive.

11: Anyone who enters the mental health system with PSS should be encouraged to talk about their psychosis. The content of the psychosis should be seen as meaningful, and may represent the key to underlying issues.

12: Psycho-education should not introduce an unproven biomedical model of brain disease as a central theme.

13: Anyone who suffers from psychosis should have access to psychotherapy by an experienced therapist.

14: Antipsychotics may be necessary to reduce psychosis but do not correct an underlying biological abnormality. Antipsychotics are no cure. Much more attention is required for individual dose optimisation to reach the lowest possible dose and to avoid irrational polypharmacy.

Schizophrenia does not exist, which is a good thing.
Because much can be done about PSS.”

~ Quoted from, Manifesto: 14 Principles for Good Care of Psychosis. Schizophrenia Does Not Exist website, 12 July 2015.

 

 

Mental Health Foundation: A to Z of Mental Health

Have you seen the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand’s new A‒Z of mental health conditions? From anxiety to suicidal feelings, they have compiled the best-quality information about mental health conditions available in New Zealand so you have all the information you need to make informed decisions about your mental health.

No one should have to go through a mental health problem alone. They believe the information in the A‒Z will help remove some of the fear and confusion that can accompany a diagnosis of mental illness, allowing individuals, families and whānau some peace of mind so they can move forward together.

Each page contains information about symptoms, causes and treatment options, and addresses some of the common myths associated with that condition. You will also find links to support groups, brochures with further information, useful links, and tips for looking after yourself. It really is a fantastic resource.

They’re still in the process of adding different conditions to the list, so check back frequently for updates. If you have any further questions, you can contact one of their fantastic information officers via the Live Chat option on their website or by emailing info@mentalhealth.org.nz

Contact: Sophia Graham, senior communications officer at the Mental Health Foundation

Canterbury Mental Health Directory and Guide

Engage Aotearoa recommends the Canterbury Mental Health Directory as a great place to start if you would like to seek help with an emotional, relational or mental health issue. It lists a number of support groups in Canterbury.

If you are asking yourself questions like these: “What sort of help do I need? Who should I go to? What will it cost? How private will it be? Will I have to wait?” this directory attempts to answer these and other questions in understandable language and with your best interests at heart. The directory can be found here. (Note from Engage: You could also try out our Community Resources Directory, which has some South Island entries.)

The website also features a superb guide for starting out seeking help, found here.

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.

Keep Learning with the Updated Online Resources Pack

mhaw-image-2014
In support of this year’s Mental-Health Awareness week theme, ‘Keep Learning’, the team at Engage Aotearoa have added two new pages of links to the Online Resources Pack for you to explore. Find new online sources of distraction/entertainment, self-help tools, information, support and recovery stories – and keep learning for Mental-Health Awareness Week and beyond.

Click here to browse and save a copy of the updated file

New links include…

  • All Right Canterbury
  • Beyond Meds
  • Coming Off
  • Conversations that Matter
  • Depression is Not Your Destiny
  • Everybody
  • Guide to Psychology and its Practice
  • Intervoice
  • Like Minds, Like Mine
  • Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse NZ
  • Mental Health News Hub
  • Mind Share
  • Open Culture
  • Reasons to Go on Living
  • Recovery Notes
  • SPARX CBT Computer Game
  • Support for Parents of Suicidal Teens
  • Support Page for Anxiety Depression and Mental Illness
  • The Depression Center 4.0
  • The Peaceful Parent
  • Worry Wise Kids

Find more Recovery Information Packs on the Engage Aotearoa website.