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Engage Aotearoa Welcomes Two New Volunteers

Engage Aotearoa is pleased to announce two new volunteers have joined the team to help make recovery resources easier for Kiwis to find.

Catherine Beyer  has joined the team of volunteers in the role of Directory Editor and Claire Sexton has joined the team in the role of Recovery Notes Content Writer.

As Directory Editor, Catherine is responsible for maintaining and expanding the Community Resources Directory.

Catherine has worked in health promotion for over 10 years, in the fields of allergy awareness and perinatal nutrition, and also as a healthy eating programme facilitator with the Salvation Army.  At university she studied biochemistry, nutrition and public health.  She has lived experience of recovery and is passionate about advocating for service-user rights, informed consent, and non-drug alternatives to dealing with mental distress.

If you have a resource to add or information to correct, contact Catherine via email to directory@engagenz.co.nz.

As Recovery Notes Content Writer, Claire will be writing a regular series of blog articles that highlight information about alternative and complementary recovery approaches. Recovery Notes will be published in the Mental-Health News and Events Blog and archived in the Information Resources section of Engage Aotearoa’s Community Treasure Chest. Recovery Notes 1 focuses on Good Mood Food.

Claire Sexton is a freelance writer and full-time mom with experience of supporting people she cares about through the experience of depression. This gave Sexton an interest in mental health in general.  After graduating college, she put a lot of effort into her career as a nutritionist, but when motherhood came along, she decided it was time to pull back and take up her other passion, writing. Now she writes about health and finds her work-life balance far more enjoyable. When not working and caring for her children, she likes to go for long walks and find ways to make family meals more exciting.

The Victory Fashion Parade | Whangarei | 28 Sep 2013

When Engage Aotearoa visited Whangarei with Mike King and Key to Life for the Community Korero earlier this year, the team met a wonderful woman named Vicky Flavell who wanted to put her passion for fashion design behind a good cause.

The Victory Fashion Parade brings together designers from the Far North for a night of style, with all proceeds going towards Engage Aotearoa’s project to get printed copies of The Community Resources Directory and The Butterfly Diaries out into communities across the country. Making help easy to find when people are struggling is an important part of preventing suicide in NZ. Now, the people of Whangarei can help make that happen just by enjoying a good night out with their friends.

  • 6 pm, Saturday 28 September 2013
  • Toll Stadium, Whangarei
  • Tickets $40
  • Contact no. 021 144 6080

Victory Fashion Parade Whangarei 28 Sep 2013

 

 

Mike King Korero Heads to Taranaki Region in September

Mike King and Tai Tupou are hitting the road again in September to encourage schools and communities to make it cool to korero about the tough stuff, so we all make it through.

  • 10 September, 1 pm, Cool to Korero, Francis Douglas College, New Plymouth
  • 10 September, 7:30 pm, Community Korero, War Memorial Hall, Stratford
  • 11 September, 7:30 pm, Community Korero, Waves Building, New Plymouth
  • 11 September, 12:30 am, Cool to Korero for Hawera High and Patea Area School, The Hub, Hawera
  • 12 September, 11:30 am, Combined Community Cool to Korero, Opunake College, Opunake

While the team at Key to Life are getting ready to hit the road, the team at Engage Aotearoa will be adding recovery resources from each of these towns to The Community Resources Directory, so they can be delivered to those who need them when the team hits the ground in each of their locations across Taranaki. If you know of any services in the Taranaki region you think others would find useful, email them in to info@engagenz.co.nz.

Engage Community Resources Directory Updated 3 July 2013

The Engage Community Resources Directory has had another round of updates added, including…

  • A Psychiatrists Section that lists most of the community mental-health services in the country
  • More Crisis Teams
  • Rotorua, Tokoroa, Hamilton therapists added
  • Plus other services that have been sent in from community members. Keep them coming, guys!

The information manager at Engage Aotearoa still has stacks of services waiting to be added, so keep an eye out for next month’s update. As usual, there is so much more waiting to be shared.

Visit The Community Treasure Chest to check out your own copy of The Community Resources Directory.

 

Outcomes from Mike King’s Community Korero in Whangarei

Report: Mike King’s: “Community Korero” – Depression & Suicide Prevention

Feedback report by Aorangi Kawiti, Mana

Whangarei, Monday 8th– 9th April 2013

Support Team: Whangarei Coordinator: Aorangi Kawiti (Mana), Isha Waetford (Mana Rangatahi) Deeanna Matiu (Mana Admin Work Experience), Marama & Rowan Waddell, Janey Tana (Mana Wahine- Tane), Hone Tana (Man Alive), Shahni Bright (The Pulse), Arthur Harawira (Mana Kaikohe)

More than 150 people from across the Whangarei community, education, health, development & social sectors flocked to hear Mike King’s brutally honest korero on his very personal experience with depression, drug & alcohol addiction & suicide. Each of the three venues packed to capacity, The Hut at The Pulse, the May Bain Room at the Central Library and the Mana office, despite late changes in venues and media reports.

Sharing his story helped others to open up and share their story, identifying with someone who’s been there and no longer feeling so alone. Accepting himself, after a lifetime of longing for the acceptance of his father and everyone else when he couldn’t get that, is pivotal to who he is today and his ability to have a conversation about a subject as serious as suicide and depression that most are afraid to bring up, in case somehow talking about it may spread the contagion, bring more suicide or increase depression. Guess what? Talking freely about depression and suicide in a safe and caring environment is amazingly liberating and invigorating. Sharing the grief of suicide is healing, releasing us from blame and guilt when we understand we have done all we could to prevent it and accepting that despite our best efforts we may not have been able to stop someone we love dying through suicide. Empowering us beyond this is the hope that propels to do all that we can to save a life from suicide, starting with the conversation: “Are you okay?” “Do you need help?” “I’m here for you” “I care about you”…then staying till they get the help they need. We need to believe people when they let us know they are suffering. We can make it easier for people to talk to us, by being more open about ourselves and our own struggles.

Humour by nature, as a survival technique and a tool of communication, is huge in Mike’s story, opening a window into his life that is warmly empathetic of young fullas growing up and easily related to. Mike’s the ambassador for Key to Life, the charity behind The Nutters Club. The feminine view is well represented by Miriam Larsen-Barr, the Korero coordinator, Engage Aotearoa Service Director, www.engagenz.co.nz website creator and administrator with a handy MA (1st Class Honours) in Psychology. Youth team member Tai Tupou, Head Trainer/ Director of RIPPED Training, No1 Boot Camp Trainer 2012 comes highly recommended by the youth in the audience, with a good dose of coconut oil as a natural remedy for depression (also recommended in the korero).

Here is a list of recommendations that came from the discussions at the Korero 

1.      Talk about our problems with each other so we aren’t dealing with the tough stuff alone

2.      Take people’s feelings seriously – remember that young people have the same emotions as adults

3.      Don’t be afraid to ask someone if they are okay – we don’t need to fix their problem, we just need to listen and show we care

4.      It is okay to come right out and say ‘are you feeling suicidal?’ – asking this question does not put ideas into someone’s head, it gives them an opportunity to tell us about how they are feeling. Suicidal feelings are hard to talk about and asking the question makes it easier to do.

5.      Talking about why people feel suicidal is important, talking about how people attempt suicide is unhelpful as it accidentally shares methods – if someone is suicidal though, we need to know enough about what they are thinking to keep them safe and protect them from having the means to follow through on any plans they might have to act on their thoughts, so it is okay to ask people whether they have a plan and what that plan is

6.      Talk and listen to our own children the same way we would our friend’s children: When we talk to our children, listen to their hurt and try to get past our own hurt as parents that we have not protected them from everything

7.      Talk more about our own problems and how we get through them – when we are real it makes it okay for other people to be real, but silence brings shame and increases stigma

8.      We need to validate each other more, look for the positives in each other and reflect them back

9.      Be aware that antidepressant medication can increase suicidal thoughts and feelings for a time and report to your doctor if you notice this

10.  For people who are suicidal and depressed, nutrition can be really important. A number of Korero participants mentioned that eating coconut oil helped them improve their moods.

11.  Parents and teachers need to be on Facebook so they can respond to risky posts and offer their support – young people often say things on Facebook that they can’t say in person. Be there.

12.  We need to normalise mental-health problems and reduce stigma so people understand these problems are common and that they can recover from them.

13.  We need to make it okay to make mistakes

14.  We need to stop thinking it is someone else’s problem to provide the support, that it is not our business and that what happens in a family should stay in the family – we are smaller families inside the one bigger family of our community, it is okay to help people from other families or to seek help from people in other families

15.  We need to give ourselves permission and our children permission to take our masks off, ask for help and show we care.

16.  Be persistent – if we feel suicidal we need to keep asking for help until we find the person who can give it to us. If we know someone is feeling suicidal we need to keep offering our support until they are able to accept it.

17.  Get help – there are heaps of supports available from counselling and therapy to phone lines like 0508 TAUTOKO, youth groups like The RAID Movement and whanau supports like Supporting Families.

18.  Support needs to be individualised and take wairua/spirituality into account for people who have a spiritual perspective

19.  Find and share information about mental health, suicide and recovery resources – a lot of the info that was available at the Korero resource table is available online at the National Depression Initiative, The Low Down, The Mental-Health Foundation and the EngageNZ websites.

20.  We all need to feel accepted and included. Let’s accept and include each other more. What we do makes a difference.

Comments from Participants

“Your korero touched my heart.”

“I acknowledge your korero on suicide and you’re right, all the money in the world won’t fix it but talking will.”

“Tautoko your mahi and korero. Yes! We need to talk, hug, awhi etc to get the message out – “you are not alone”.”

“Absolutely fantastic korero, learned so much and totally believe sharing stories is a wonderful way of healing. I’m so glad our team attended.”

“The talk the other day was brilliant. Well really it was a discussion. It was very open, honest, inclusive and well worth taking the time to go to. Important things we got out of it are, talk, have a conversation, be yourself and know that you do not have the right to know if someone else likes you or not. Thanks very much I’m sure everyone took something useful away with them.”

Outcomes

Given all the shared conversations by people who care and the empathetic response of support from the community at this time when we are sadly aware of the deaths to suicide in Whangarei last year and increasingly over the past few years, it is with hope inspired by this presentation and the collective support it has received that we are glad to report some very real and positive results from this:

  1. Conversations were shared about depression, suicide and recovery in our community
  2. Conversations are continuing with whanau and community
  3. Increased information and awareness in the community (Community Resources Directory of recovery services online at EngageNZ, distributed at meetings for people to add to and have available in a prominent place at their service for people to access)
  4. Service providers and clinicians engaging to support whanau and community
  5. Survivors of Suicide Support Group, to meet monthly, for people who have lost someone to suicide, considered suicide and survived or are currently struggling with these feelings. We are engaged in planning and partnership activities to ensure this will be a safe and supportive group, with the intention of being able to begin in June or July.

Ma tatou tahi e awhi e hapai te kaupapa nei. Through all of us working together we share.

Report prepared by Aorangi Kawiti
Contact: kawiti.aorangi@gmail.com, 0226202262

Two Volunteer Opportunities at EngageNZ

EngageNZ needs two volunteers to help keep two of their most widely-used recovery resources happening, The Community Resources Directory and the Mental-Health News and Events Blog. These resources aim to inform the public about what recovery resources are available for them – information is power and sharing information is an empowering act. By volunteering for Engage Aotearoa you can help empower others to find what works for them.

  • Do you have a lived experience of recovery or supporting a loved one on their journey?
  • Do you want to help make it easier for other people to find what they need to recover?
  • Do you have a home computer and internet access?

If you answered yes to those three questions, you might be just the person EngageNZ is looking for. You can be based anywhere in the country, because you will be working mainly online.

 Volunteer Community Resources Promoter

You would be responsible for finding and adding information about recovery resources to The Community Resources Directory and sending in an updated directory at the start of each month. You will be as passionate as EngageNZ is about connecting people across the country with the resources they need to recover from mental-health problems. So much is available, but it so hard to find out about it. Your work will help solve that problem. Some information you will receive by email and other information you will need to find through your own research and detective-work.

Skills Needed:

  1. Computer literacy – Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, Email, Google & web searches
  2. Written communication – can summarise information and communicate clearly in writing, can proof-read and edit, can format written work so it is easy to read
  3.  Reliability – can spend 3 hours a week updating the Directory and responding to people who have contacted you with information, can stick to regular deadlines, can check emails at least once every 2 days and provide prompt responses
  4. Assertiveness – can identify gaps and self-motivate to find what is needed to fill them. You are a creative thinker who does what needs to be done and seeks the help they need to do it.

 Volunteer Mental-Health News and Events Blogger

You would be responsible for updating the Mental-Health News and Events Blog twice a week. There are so many events, groups and announcements happening in and around the mental-health sector. Your work will help make sure they can all be found easily, in one place. You will receive mental-health news and events notices by email and twice a week you will add them all to the Mental-Health News and Events Blog using WordPress and share the most interesting ones on the Engage Aotearoa Facebook Page.

Skills Needed:

  1. Computer literacy – Microsoft Word, WordPress, email, Facebook, Google & web searches
  2. Written communication – can summarise information and communicate clearly in writing, can proof-read and edit to suit the Engage style-guide, can format writing so it is easy to read
  3. Reliability – can spend 2 hours, two times every week updating the mental-health news and events blog and is able to stick to regular deadlines (4 hours a week)
  4. Assertiveness – can identify gaps and limitations and take proactive steps to resolve them, you are able to seek help and ask questions when you need to.

Interested? Your questions and queries are welcome.

To apply, please send a brief CV, photograph and cover letter to admin@engagenz.co.nz

Mike King Korero Goes to Kawakawa 7 May 2013

Engage Aotearoa and Key to Life Charitable Trust will be taking the Mike King Korero to Kawakawa on the 7th of May for two sessions at Bay of Islands College. In the morning, students at Bay of Islands College will get the chance to take part in the Cool to Korero seminar that aims to encourage students to talk about their problems with people they trust before things get on top of them. In the evening, community members will be able to take part in the Community Korero to discuss how to help prevent suicide in their town.

Click here to read about the Whangarei Community Korero that took place on the 9th of April and made the front page of the Northern Advocate.

Click here to check out photos and feedback from the Whangarei Korero.

CoolToKoreroPoster_Kawakawa_V1

CommunityKoreroPoster_Kawakawa_V2

 

Mike King Korero to Get Whangarei Talking About Suicide

Media Release: Engage Aotearoa & The Key to Life Charitable Trust

For Immediate Release: 01/04/2013 | Updated 5/04/2013
_ _ _

Mike King’s Community Korero will hit Whangarei from the 8th to the 9th of April to throw solutions at the problem of suicide, with a series of public seminars. NZ has one of the highest suicide rates in the developed world, especially among older people and youth. Estimates suggest that 1 in 6 New Zealanders have suicidal thoughts every year. As Mike King puts it “The Korero encourages people to help fight suicide by talking and supporting each other rather than taking their own lives. Silence is not the solution.” Rather than simply telling people they need to talk, King leads by example; Through sharing his own story, he opens the way for community members to share theirs.

CommunityKoreroPosterWhangareiV5

In the Community Korero, comedian Mike King gets straight up about his battle with depression, addiction and his ongoing journey back to recovery, including the mistakes he made along the way. This is a not-to-be-missed chance for communities to come together and explore how to support our youth and each other to survive and thrive. People can ask the questions they have always wanted to ask during a Q & A session at the end of the talk where Mike is joined by Engage Aotearoa service director Miriam Larsen-Barr, who also has a lived experience of recovery from being suicidal. Together they are an example of how the issue of suicide can affect anyone, Pakeha and Maori, men and women, young people and adults.

The Q & A is a chance for local professionals, parents, teachers and people with personal experience of these issues to discuss how we as individuals and communities can use our experiences to prevent suicide. Those with questions can ask them and those with knowledge can share it. Feedback from the Community Korero in Kaitaia included comments like “loved it”, “amazing evening, Mike opening his heart and bringing this community together” and “we should have another one I reckon.”

The initiative hopes to reach local schools in Whangarei in the future, through Cool to Korero, a special student-centred session that gives kids a chance to seek help and empowers youth to lead the way in creating supportive school and community environments. At least 20 students came forward to seek help for active suicidal thoughts after the Kaitaia and Taipa talks and were linked in with support.

Students commented “It was mint. I like how you approached the subject like not too serious and yeah, shot oi!”, “Thank you so much, words don’t suffice” and “you should come back mah gee!” Teachers commented “Thank you for giving our rangatahi options to stand up, speak up and seek help” and “I BET you have saved lives today.”

Community Korero is open to the public and a resource table provides plenty of take-home information about everything from suicidal thoughts and supporting someone who is suicidal to recovery and community services.  Local services are welcome to bring information to share with the community too – people can simply bring their materials along and add them to the table.

Larsen-Barr comments “suicide is a really hard issue in our communities. There are so many people who are prepared to help and who are already helping.  When our powers combine, I truly believe great things will happen. But first, we need to talk about it. Mike’s Korero creates a space to do that.

For more information visit www.engagenz.co.nz and click on Mike King Talks.

___ ENDS ___

Cool to Korero Kaitaia Trip a Success

Mike King of The Key to Life Charitable Trust and The Nutters Club traveled to Kaitaia with Engage Aotearoa from the 4th to the 6th of March to throw solutions at suicide and help encourage people to talk more.

After a powhiri at Te Runanga o te Rarawa, major sponsors of the initiative, the pair visited Taipa Area School and presented Its Cool to Korero to 150 senior school students and community members.

That evening, over 90 members of the Far North community attended Mike King’s Community Korero, where Mike and Miriam fielded questions from the crowd and got everyone talking about how they can make a difference or get through themselves.

The next day, all 800+ students at Kaitaia College and 60 students from neighbouring Aniwaniwa College took part in the Cool to Korero talk, split across two, packed-to-capacity 2-hour sessions in the school hall. Mike’s presentation had participants laughing their way into this sensitive subject and inspired to do more.

At each seminar, the audience was asked to stand if they ‘would do anything they could to stop one person from committing suicide.’ Picture entire rooms of hundreds standing to show their support.

Each school session provided an opportunity for students to have one-on-one time with Mike and/or Miriam and over 20 students were able to come forward to seek support. Take-away resources were available on Bullying, Heartbreak, Depression, Alcohol and Drugs, Suicide, Mental-Health Problems, Recovery, Community Resources and more.

PamapuriaPrimarySchool

Each school was left with a stack of Skylight teacher resources and library books including It Happened to Me: A Teen’s Guide to Overcoming Sexual Abuse; The Anger Toolbox; Something Has Happened Activity Book for Children; The Tough Stuff Activity Book for Children; A Terrible Thing Happened storybook for Children; Creative Coping Skills for Children; Bully Blocking and Emotional Support through Arts and Crafts Activities.

After the last Kaitaia College session on the 6th of March, before they began the long drive back to Auckland, Miriam and Mike made a special after-school visit to Pamapuria Primary (pictured here) with a box of Skylight books for the kids who have experienced trauma there recently .  

So that’s 2 days and over 1 000 people who are ready to lead the changes needed to reach the zero suicide rate that is Key to Life Charitable Trust’s goal and make recovery easier, just like Engage Aotearoa is trying to do.

Discussions are underway to bring the talk to other towns in the Far North in the coming months. Engage Aotearoa has provided schools with follow-up activities for their classrooms and evaluations are currently underway.

Many thanks to Mike King of The Key to Life Charitable Trust, Kevin, BJ, Paulette, Ellen and everybody at Te Runanga o Te Rarawa, Mental Health Commissioner Lynne Lane, Bice and co at Skylight, Ivan at the Mental Health Foundation of NZ, The Beachcomber, Fathers Against Suicide, Kaitaia College, Taipa Area School and all the other people who helped us to pull this together so quickly and so well.

More photo’s coming soon.

Far North Services Added to Community Resources Directory

Mental-health recovery resources from the Far North were added to most sections of the Community Resources Directory on the Engage Aotearoa website on the 1st of March.

The directory is now nearly 70-pages long and the Far North sub-sections include services from Whangarei, Kerikeri, Kaikohe, Dargaville, Kawakawa and Kaitaia that can be used to promote recovery, including creative connections, psychologists and counsellors, support services and more. 

If you spot something missing or have information to fill in the many gaps, please contact info@engagenz.co.nz.