Engage Aotearoa

Category Archives: Support

Events, information and news about support options or accessing support. This could be family support or support from a community group or club.

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

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.

Support Group for Women to Talk about Same Sex Attraction; Auckland

Questioning?

Would you like a supportive women’s space to talk about same sex attraction?

This group is participant directed, a space to explore topics like:

  • What does same sex attraction mean to you?
  • Identity labels…e.g.  Bi, Queer, Lesbian, Dyke
  • Stereotypes and gender stereotypes
  • Being in an opposite sex relationship and having same sex attraction
  • Finding community and dating
  • Being out in society
  • If you want to come out, how to tell family, friends, work colleagues
  • Relationships with women
  • You, your children and a new relationship

This six-week group is facilitated by Cissy Rock and Ellie Lim.  Cissy is a prominent contributor to the Auckland Lesbian scene creating events and support groups.  She enjoys getting alongside people and sharing her experience as a mother, feminist, lesbian, friend and partner.  Ellie works for the Auckland Women’s Centre and has had extensive involvement with rainbow organisations.  She is passionate about enabling women to live the lives they dream of living.

Comments from previous participants:  (I enjoyed) “Being able to connect with people and talk to people who were experiencing similar things to me.  Having experienced people to help us and cheer us on.”  “Really enjoyed (it) and appreciated the professional delivery. Thanks! :-)”

Date: Tuesdays 7 July – 11 August, 2015
Time: 7.00pm-9.00pm
Venue: Auckland Women’s Centre, 4 Warnock Street, Grey Lynn
Cost: FREE
Contact: Ellie on 376 3227 ext 1 or email her on womensservices@womenz.org.nz
Come along, ask questions, share, this is a safe, non-judgemental environment. (6 weeks)

Reprints of popular Mental Health Commision resources now available

Due to popular demand, new versions of “Oranga Ngākau – Getting the most out of Mental Health and Addiction Services: A recovery resource for service users” and “When someone you care about has a mental health or addiction issue” are available in hard copy or by download.

“Oranga Ngākau” is easy to understand and provides valuable information about what to expect from treatment in mental health and addiction services. This includes a glossary of terms used during care, as well as describing different possible scenarios when using these services for the first time.

“When someone you care about has a mental health or addiction issue” is a resource for those who are supporting others. Read about the best ways for family, whānau and friends to help people close to them who are in care, as well as how to find support for themselves, should they need it.

Contact:
Kim Higginson, Information Officer, Mental Health Foundation
info@mentalhealth.org.nz

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.

IIMHL New Zealand Special Update

The following links are a summary of the IIMHL AND IIDL UPDATE – 15 NOVEMBER 2014

If you want further information on the IIMHL organisation go here. To sign up for their mailing list go here.

For general enquiries about these links or for other IIMHL information please contact Erin Geaney at erin@iimhl.com.

  1. The Physical Health of People with a Serious Mental Illness and/or Addiction: An evidence review
  2. Stories of Success
  3. Tihei Mauri Ora: Supporting whānau through suicidal distress
  4. New ‘wellbeing bank’ for baby boomers
  5. “There is always someone worse off…” (regarding the earthquakes in Christchurch)
  6. Debriefing following seclusion and restraint: A summary of relevant literature
  7. Families and whānau status report 2014: Towards measuring the wellbeing of families and whānau
  8. Growing Up in New Zealand: Vulnerability Report 1: Exploring the Definition of Vulnerability for Children in their First 1000 Days (July 2014)
  9. Parents or caregivers of children with a disability have a voice in New Zealand (video playlist)

Also recommended in the update are:

Effective parenting programmes: A review of the effectiveness of parenting programmes for parents of vulnerable children
(2014, April 14). Wellington: Families Commission

New Zealand practice guidelines for opioid substitution treatment
(2014, April). Wellington: Ministry of Health

 

 

5 things I’ve learned about supporting friends in distress

RecoveryNotes_WebImage

Five things I’ve learned about supporting friends in distress

Recovery Note #2

by Sheree Veysey


As a person who has experienced my fair share of mental distress and who now works in the counselling field, I have learned a few things about how to be there for someone who is upset and how to ask others to be there for me.  I wish this list had been available for me to give my friends and supporters in times  past – I lost a few of them, at least partly because of the stress that supporting a friend who has longer term “stuff” going on put on our relationship.

1. You don’t need to fix: you don’t need to make someone feel better

We live in a fixing culture, and often when someone tells us what’s going on for them, we jump immediately to problem solving, or ideas for the person to do things differently to make them feel different. This is often not helpful as frequently the person can feel that they are not heard. This may also give the message that their less pleasant feelings are somehow ‘wrong’ and that if they tried harder to ‘fix’ them they would not have issues…

Instead of aiming to help someone feel better, if we concentrate on listening to their experience and validating it then often the person will walk away feeling heard, less alone, (and not surprisingly often feeling a touch better). Validating people’s feelings and experience is about just acknowledging where they are: “I can see how you would feel that…” “Wow, that’s a lot going on” “No wonder you feel overwhelmed.”

The opposite is invalidation (e.g. “I don’t see what the big deal is.” “There’s no reason to get so upset”) which can leave people feeling isolated and awful about themselves.

2. Friend and support versus therapist…

If someone is dealing with high levels of distress, then I would be strongly encouraging them to be engaged with health services (doctor, counselling, psychologist, mental health services) rather than just using friends for support. Counsellor’s and others who work with people in distress receive comprehensive training and regular supervision. Part of the reason they are able to offer such intensive listening and support to a person is because of this- and also because the time they give has boundaries around it and clear expectations.

When we try to be there for someone in a lot of distress outside of these professional relationships, often we start out with lots of energy and listening time and empathy. However, if the distress is not short lived, we often run into problems because we have not put boundaries around our time and availability. We  tell our friend to call us at any time of the day and night- and when they start doing this, the supporter can be left burnout, not wanting to hear from their friend, guilty about feeling this way and sometimes even experiencing what is called ‘vicarious trauma’ from listening to really difficult and traumatic experiences.

If you are aware of this pitfall, then you can set some boundaries with the person. Boundaries are our friends! Some of these may not need to be discussed and you can just hold them in your own head, others you might like to talk about. You need to be clear about where your lines in the sand are about what you can and cannot offer: Are there things you don’t feel able to talk about with the friend and you would prefer they saw a professional? How late is it okay to call? What about if they are intoxicated? What if they are feeling that they might harm themselves? What if they want to stay over?

3. Think long haul 

The boundary setting above is crucial if you intend to keep this person in your life long term.

I have had times in my life when a dear friend has let me know she isn’t available for any support at this time. While in the moment I would have preferred it to be different, I also understood that her letting me know this was about her wish to be a friend for the long haul and to do this, she needed to prioritise her wellbeing.

I would far rather have her in my life for years to come, than lose this friendship because she got exhausted. In return I have learned to set similar boundaries with friends in distress – letting them know I care very deeply but I don’t have the capacity for support right now. I would always encourage people to be developing a number of supports for themselves- I feel it leads to far healthier relationships.

Some people experiencing distress are hyper aware of asking for ‘too much’, and as a result often won’t ask for support they need because of their fear. Talking about this issue can really encourage them to reach out at the appropriate time, knowing you will be able to say “not today” if you need to.

4. Reciprocity

When I was a teenager I had a good friend who didn’t tell me until weeks afterward that she was living with another family for a while because her parents were fighting and might be splitting up. I asked her why she hadn’t told me, and she said that she didn’t want to put any other stress on me because I was having such a hard time. I heard her thoughtfulness, but at the same time I was dismayed, because I didn’t just want a friend- I wanted the chance to be a friend. I would have liked to take the opportunity to give back to her with some listening and support. Our friendships work best when there are vaguely equal amounts of give and take- so don’t be afraid to ask your friend who is distressed for things you might need. If they can’t give this at the time- well this is also a good chance for them to practice boundary setting and say no (remember- boundaries are our friends).

5. Look after yourself

You matter, and you need to keep an eye on your own well-being. Sometimes when someone we love is really struggling we can tell ourselves we should just keep giving and giving to them because they are having a harder time than us. In the long term, this really does not do ourselves or them any good.

Don’t underestimate the stress of having someone you care about really struggling. Good sleep, a wide variety of food, some sunshine and physical activity are all important! Turn to your supports, and even think about seeing a professional if you feel you need to. This is great modelling to our friends, families and children.

Arohanui

Sheree Veysey

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Sheree Veysey is a counsellor from Auckland offering counselling and coaching via Skype and face to face at www.lifeinprogress.co.nz. Her own journey toward wellbeing inspired her to work with people and offer them the compassion that helped her healing. Sheree is also a writer, dog owner, auntie and part-time performer.

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Read Recovery Note #1: Five things I’ve learned about food and my mood

The Butterfly Diaries

The 10th of September was World Suicide Prevention Day. It’s common to have suicidal thoughts. Engage wants to get people talking about how to survive suicidal thoughts and safely support the people they care about. The Butterfly Diaries is part of a mission to make it okay to talk and easier to find help. Engage has a big box of books waiting to be posted out right now.

The Butterfly Diaries is a creative book project sharing stories of hope and transformation from people who have made it through the experience of being suicidal.

Visit the Butterfly Diaries Page.

Or if you want to support our work, click here to make a donation to Engage Aotearoa.

New Pathway for ACC Sensitive Claims

ACC are the government organisation that can help people with a physical and/or mental injury suffered as a result of sexual abuse or sexual assault.

A new pathway for ACC Sensitive Claims was released in March this year. 

This page provides an overview of the new ACC sensitive claims service, including its key features.

You’ll need to talk to a GP or a counselor to lodge a sensitive claim with ACC.

For more information about how to lodge a sensitive claim, click here.